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Brady Comments on USTR-Designate Kirk’s Testimony

March 09, 2009

Washington D.C. – The Ways & Means Trade Subcommittee RankingMember, U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX), comments on USTR-DesignateKirk’s Testimony to the Senate Finance Committee:

“I applaud many of the key aspects of Mayor Kirk’s testimony and thePresident’s Trade Agenda, in particular, the acknowledgment thatcontinued trade is essential to our economic recovery and that we mustmove forward on our pending FTAs. 

I am committed to working with the President and Mayor Kirk todevelop promptly a “plan of action” to address the pending tradeagreements.  The President’s interest in moving the Panama FTA“relatively quickly” is encouraging.  Likewise, I welcome their promiseto establish benchmarks for the Colombian and South Korean FTAs.  Moreimportant than the order in which Congress votes on these agreements,however, is identifying at the outset what the road forward entails foreach of them.   I understand the concerns that the President has withrespect to the Colombian and South Korean FTAs, and I look forward tobipartisan work with him and Mayor Kirk to address themsatisfactorily.  I believe this work can—and should—happen in tandemwith any formal action on the Panama agreement. 

At the same time, I believe that the May 10 agreement underscoreshow Democrats and Republicans have come together to give proper regardto labor and environmental issues in trade agreements in ways thatbenefit diverse interests in the United States and abroad.  I stand bytheir inclusion in the pending trade agreements, and I am very troubledby any effort to add new elements to this vital compromise that do nothave bipartisan support.

I welcome the goal expressed by the President and Mayor Kirk to seekbroader participation in the trade debate and recognize the challengesthat we face ahead.  While I believe that enforcement of our traderights is an essential part of building a consensus on tradeagreements, it is not the only path to increasing our exports andhelping our economy recover.  We must also, at the same time, developnew markets for the exports of American goods and services.  I amdisappointed not to see more of a proactive approach by the Presidentand his team in this regard.”