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Brady Opening Statement at Full Committee Hearing on The 2019 Trade Policy Agenda

June 19, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  The top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee Kevin Brady (R-TX) delivered the following opening statement at a Full Committee Hearing on The 2019 Trade Policy Agenda: Negotiations with China, Japan, the EU, and UK; new NAFTA/USMCA; U.S. Participation in the WTO; and other matters.

Before the start of today’s hearing, Rep. Brady and the top Republican on the Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Vern Buchanan (R-FL) sent a letter to Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR).  CLICK HERE to read the full letter.

CLICK HERE to watch the hearing.

Remarks as prepared for delivery: 

“Thank you, Chairman Neal, for calling this hearing today.

“And thank you, Ambassador Lighthizer, for testifying.

“Armed with a new, modern tax code led by President Trump and Republicans, America has regained the title of #1 most competitive economy in the world.

“Our economy is growing 50 percent faster than the Obama experts gloomily predicted, wages are growing for the first time in a decade, American manufacturing is back, and for the first time in modern history, more direct investment is flowing into the U.S. than is leaving. 

“To grow the economy further, we need more customers because we must not only Buy American but Sell American – to every corner of the globe.

“That’s what free and fair trade can do.

“Ambassador, you and President Trump have worked tirelessly to bring many of our trade relationships into the 21st century.

“Most important among them is USMCA.

“On balance USMCA truly is a 21st-century trade agreement, setting high standards in many crucial areas for America – agriculture, digital trade, customs barriers, and intellectual property – producing strong wins for American manufacturers, farmers, workers, and service businesses. 

“Of course, agreements must be enforceable to hold our trading partners accountable.  Establishing strong, effective, and timely processes to settle disputes ensures that America receives the full benefit of USMCA.

“Congress must approve this agreement as soon as possible to unlock these benefits.

“Every day USMCA is delayed, America suffers. 

“By improving some of NAFTA’s strengths and fixing its shortcomings, USMCA will grow America’s economy, American jobs, and higher wages for our workers and farmers.

“The longer Congress delays implementing USMCA, our country will lose out on more jobs, more customers for Made-in-America goods, and a stronger economy. 

“Chairman Neal, I look forward to working with you closely to achieve strong, bipartisan support for the agreement as quickly as possible, without delay.  

“Strengthening our North American economy through this agreement will build momentum for other important trade negotiations.

“First among these is China. 

“There is bipartisan agreement on Capitol Hill that China’s predatory trade policies – from intellectual property theft to forced technology transfers, and from massive subsidies to excess capacity – are unacceptable. 

“President Trump is the first President to truly take China head-on and insist on a fairer trading relationship.  Ambassador, you are attempting to tackle the key issues for the sake of our workers, farmers, and local businesses.

“The President is right to insist on a new trading relationship with China that is fair, measurable, and enforceable.

“If China doesn’t live up to those commitments, we must have an automatic, direct, and consequential response.

“Tariffs are the tool that the President has chosen to bring China to the table for constructive discussions.  I may not like tariffs, in fact I believe they ought to be zero wherever possible, but I and everyone else knows China has been cheating for far too long.  President Trump is right to challenge them, and insist on real change. 

“While the tariffs are in place, though, we need an effective product exclusion process that targets the tariffs on China and gives relief to American companies and farmers caught in the middle.

“Republicans are committed to continue working with you, Ambassador Lighthizer, to resolve these longstanding issues faced by our local businesses.

“We are at a rare moment of time where the U.S. and China can launch a new era of free and fair trade that benefits us all.  And with that, the lifting of tariffs will benefit consumers and help the U.S. economy soar. 

“In addition to China, we must unlock as many markets as possible for American goods and services. 

“These markets include Japan, the EU, the UK, as well as potential new partners. 

“We expect comprehensive negotiations, including ag and services as well as manufacturing, whether it’s across the Pacific or across the Atlantic.

“We must also reform the World Trade Organization to address non-market economies in meaningfully, fix Appellate Body overreach, and move ambitious negotiations on e-commerce with those countries that are ready.

“To address the world’s changing climate, America should lead the way to conclude a successful environmental goods agreement with zero tariffs on state-of-the-art technology to reduce carbon emissions around the planet.

“In each of these negotiations, we expect that you will consult with us and with our staffs thoroughly and meaningfully, according to the requirements of the Trade Act of 1974, without exception. 

“Let me conclude by noting that we started 2019 on a path for another year of 3-percent growth.

“It is possible for us to achieve this goal through sustained pro-growth tax, regulatory, and trade policy.

“For our workers who are finally seeing paychecks grow after years of stagnation, for our Main Street businesses who are recording record optimism, and for our farmers who feed our families and need relief, let’s move forward on our trade agenda, beginning with passing USMCA without further delay.

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”