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The U.S. House of Representatives approved an amendment to the 2010 Energy and Water Appropriations bill, just before recessing for an August holiday, that would forbid the use of appropriated funds to “purchase passenger motor vehicles other than those manufactured by Ford, GM, or Chrysler.” The bill does not require that the vehicles be made in the United States, so cars manufactured by BMW, Honda, Toyota, Hyundai and others might be excluded from government fleets, but not necessarily a Chrysler made in Mexico or a Ford made in Germany. Congressmen may have been reasoning that cars made by companies effectively owned by the government should be given preference, but that thinking would have excluded Ford. Ford, then, would have been excluded because it was the only one of the “Big Three” American manufacturers that did not require a government bailout. It would have been politically impossible to exclude from government purchases the one traditional American manufacturer that has managed its own way through the economic crisis. The bill, otherwise, favors neither American workers nor vehicles made in the United States.

This amendment is unlikely to become law because the Obama Administration almost certainly will oppose it, as will Senators representing the thousands of U.S. workers who make Toyotas, Hondas, Hyundais, BMWs and the cars of other foreign-owned manufacturers in the United States.  Nevertheless, the amendment is a good indication of current protectionist sentiment in the U.S. Congress.  The Financial Times quoted Dr. Elliot J. Feldman last week condemning the Buy Ford, GM or Chrysler amendment.

         

         美国众议院在八月休会前夕就《2010年能源和水利拨款法案》通过了一项修正案,禁止法案拨款用于“购买非福特、大众或是克莱斯勒生产的载人汽车”。这一法案并未要求这些汽车是美国国土上生产的汽车,所以宝马、本田、丰田、现代和其他汽车可能被排除在政府车队之外,但是墨西哥生产的克莱斯勒和德国生产的福特却不一定被排除在外。众议员的依据可能是那些政府持有的公司生产的汽车应享受优惠措施,但是依照这一推理,福特应被排除在外。福特是三大汽车生产商中唯一没有申请政府救助的企业。政治氛围不允许把这家在经济危机中自力更生的传统美国生产商排除在政府采购之外。除此之外,这一法案没有给美国工人或美国产汽车带来任何优惠措施。

           

        这一修正案不太可能变成法律条款,因为几乎可以肯定奥巴马政府将否决这一修正案,同时代表上千位生产丰田、本田、现代、奔驰等国外品牌汽车的美国工人的参议员也一定会反对这一修正案。但是这一修正案充分显示了美国国会的贸易保护主义情绪。《金融时报》上周就这一事件采访了费德门博士。

      (翻译:朱晶)