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Brady Statement on Pakistan/Afghanistan Recovery Opportunity Zones Bill

June 10, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Kevin Brady, Ranking Member of the House Ways & Means Trade Subcommittee, issued the following statement regarding the Pakistan Enduring Assistance and Cooperation Enhancement Act (H.R. 1886):
“While I commend the idea of encouraging trade and investment in the volatile Pakistan-Afghanistan region, I have serious concerns that this bill fails to encourage significant investment in the region and contains divisive language that opens a back-door to the eventual challenge of U.S. labor laws.” 

The trade measure seeks to provide duty-free benefits to Afghanistan and certain regions in Pakistan to encourage investment in the apparel and textile sector in those countries.   But trade experts view the scope of eligible products covered as very limited and offering a meager economic impact, which along with the labor provisions, will discourage investment in these critical region, predicts Brady. 

Brady added, “There is really no need to drive a wedge into what has long been bipartisan agreement on preference programs.  I support the Senate version of the bill as introduced by Senator Cantwell earlier this year – and I am hopeful we can work with House leaders to craft a final measure that has strong bipartisan support.”