WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will
sign a bill into law Wednesday aimed at helping U.S.
manufacturers by temporarily suspending import duties on a long
list of raw materials they use to make finished products.
The White House said the legislation, which passed the U.S.
Congress last month, would cut costs for American businesses
and for consumers.
The bill is part of a "Make it in America" agenda Obama's
Democrats are pushing ahead of the Nov. 2 congressional
elections. Backers of the initiatives say they will reduce the
huge U.S. trade deficit with China and other countries by
bolstering American manufacturing firms.
The National Association of Manufacturers, a top industry
group, said the Manufacturing Enhancement Act of 2010 would
boost U.S. manufacturing output by $4.6 billion and support
about 90,000 jobs.
Obama is to sign the bill at 2:40 p.m. EDT and
will be joined by Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, U.S. Trade
Representative Ron Kirk, as well as by representatives from the
business community and the manufacturers' association.
The global financial crisis led to a major slowdown in
trade, causing the U.S. trade deficit to shrink to $375 billion
in 2009 from $699 billion in 2008.
As economic growth has returned, the trade gap has
increased again, hitting almost $200 billion in the first five
months of this year.
The Commerce Department is scheduled to release fresh
figures on the U.S. trade picture on Wednesday.
(Writing by Caren Bohan; Editing by Bill Trott)