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Require the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) to incorporate a “competitiveness screen” in its review of federal regulations.

In an era when global trade was minimal and the dominance of U.S. competitiveness was largely assured, the nation could afford to impose new regulatory requirements with little thought given to their impact on the competitiveness of traded sectors. But today, regulation can and does increase costs on industries in traded sectors that in turn make them less competitive globally. To the extent federal regulation makes distinctions between companies, it’s often on the basis of size, but it should rather be on whether a firm is in an industry facing global competition or not. To address this, regulatory agencies seeking to impose regulations that affect traded sectors in non-trivial ways should be required to have these regulations undergo a review by OMB’s OIRA for their first-order competitiveness impact. Moreover, given the limited amount of time and attention available for regulatory review, the highest priority should be placed on reviewing those regulations that directly impact traded sectors.