Guest Editorial: N.H. firm gets short end of stick

It’s been five years since Goss International Corp. won a jury trial against a Japanese competitor, but it still hasn’t received satisfaction.

Now U.S. Sens. Judd Gregg and John Sununu are asking Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to intervene.

We understand the niceties of statecraft, but when it comes to protecting American jobs – jobs right here in New Hampshire; right here in Strafford County – the communication should be as strong as the situation warrants.

Goss is one of the world’s premier manufacturers of printing presses. The company employs about 1,000 people at facilities in Dover and Durham.

Goss won a $31.6 million award in 2003, when a jury found Tokyo Kikai Seisakusho Ltd. guilty of an illegal trade practice known as “dumping” -in which a foreign company sets out to destroy a U.S. market by flooding it with low-cost goods.

TKS countered Goss’s win by getting its country’s government to enact a law forcing the American company’s subsidiary in Japan to pay back the judgment.

It is win-win for the Japanese firm and lose-lose for Goss.

It is the way international trade works against the United States and U.S. workers.

Sununu said in a written statement to Foster’s Daily Democrat: “Foreign companies that wish to do business in the United States have to play by the rules, and that includes Goss’s competitors.”

It should particularly apply to foreign competitors.

Gregg said in a similar statement “the (Bush) Administration should take a stand in favor of enforcing our trade laws and not allow foreign governments to undermine them.”

Goss filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court after a U.S. Court of Appeals reversed a lower court’s injunction against the Japanese raider.

Imagine, if you can, a Japanese appeals court finding in favor of an American company.

We hear a lot about how America is taken to the international trade cleaners in its dealings with China and cartels like the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. We overlook the harm being suffered by U.S. companies and workers at the hands of traders in “friendly” foreign countries like Japan.

The United States is being savaged in the world marketplace. What has happened to Goss is an example that hits home.

In February, the Supreme Court asked U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement for an opinion in the Goss case. Clement, in turn, asked for an opinion from Rice.

It ought to be a no-brainer. Goss and its employees are the victims of state-sanctioned predatory trade practices.

The facts are on the side of the American manufacturer. Will the secretary of state rely on those facts, or will she go in search of what the State Department might view as a “bigger picture?”

The Japanese government never hesitates to intervene on behalf of a Japanese corporation. Why does the U.S. government delay when it comes to taking the side of an American company?

It is time the United States reasserted some of the economic muscle it once had – muscle that distinguished our country as the single most important trading nation in the world.

The United States is a nation of laws. Japan is a nation of self-interests. Maybe there is something to be learned from Japan.

It was the late “Tip” O’Neill, a former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, who said: “All politics is local.”

In today’s world, something similar can be said of trade.

Yes, all trade is local – or at least should be thought of as such when it comes to its effect on the local economy. – FOSTER’S DAILY DEMOCRAT