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U.S. House Members to Offer Anti-Offshore Jobs Bill
Mar 3, 2004
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About 50 U.S. House of Representatives members plan to introduce a bill that would deny U.S. companies federal financing and loan guarantees if they shift U.S. jobs overseas.

The bill is said to be the first national attempt to deal with the issue of "offshoring," or sending U.S. manufacturing and service jobs to lower-cost venues abroad.

The Defending American Jobs Act would target corporate assistance offered by agencies that provide trade financing and other help to U.S. companies that conduct business abroad.

The bill would require a loan applicant to specify the number of employees in the U.S. and abroad as well as a general wage scale. If the number of non-U.S. workers increases while U.S. worker numbers fall, the loan would be canceled.

To date, lawmakers in about 20 states have proposed laws that would ban state contracts from being awarded to non-U.S. companies or permit work performed abroad. In January 2004, U.S. President George W. Bush signed the Omnibus Appropriations Act, which has a provision that bars some government agencies from hiring non-U.S. companies.

The American Electronics Association reports that U.S. technology employment fell 4 percent last year to below 6 million, the lowest level since 1999. Part of the loss has been attributed to companies that shift high-cost development to lower-cost centers abroad, especially in Asia. (Reuters)

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