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Brady Opening Statement at Full Committee Markup of WTO Resolution and USMCA Implementing Legislation

December 17, 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 Markup of WTO Resolution and USMCA Implementing Legislation.

CLICK HERE to watch the markup.

Remarks as prepared for delivery: 

“Thank you, Chairman Neal.

“It goes without question, USMCA is a sorely needed modernization of NAFTA. It has been over 25 years since we updated our trading relationship with Mexico and Canada, and a lot has changed since then.

“We didn’t have Google in 1994. We didn’t receive news on our smartphones. Netflix didn’t exist.

“USMCA brings our trading rules into the 21st Century and will be a force multiplier for America’s already strong economy.

“President Trump and Ambassador Lighthizer have fought hard and delivered on their promise for a pro-growth and modern trade pact. And because of their leadership, we now have a trade deal that will deliver historic wins for our economy.

“And that’s because this is a trade deal that is all about growth. USMCA will set the stage for billions more in economic activity.

“It creates, for the first time, rules for competing in the digital economy.

“With a brand-new digital chapter, American innovators will be empowered to sell goods and services globally, allowing for a stronger American economy.

“And it pries open Canada’s market for U.S. farmers and ranchers to sell American dairy, wheat, chicken, eggs, and turkey.  Our services providers will be able to lock in access to Mexican and Canadian customers.

“And the agreement is enforceable, allowing us to challenge violations and stopping countries from blocking those challenges, holding Mexico and Canada accountable for these new rules.

“For America, this means more jobs. It means more customers. And it gives America’s innovators the tools they need to succeed here in America as we compete with countries like China.

“Independent experts predict this new agreement to spur over $68 billion in new economic activity.

“More than 176,000 American jobs are set to be created, including 76,000 new auto-sector jobs.

“And best of all for the American people, USMCA is a truly bipartisan agreement, not a trade deal filled with radical leftist ideas.

“To Chairman Neal’s credit, House Democrats worked in good faith with Ambassador Lighthizer on a path to yes. 

“And we are glad to see so many Republican priorities were retained.

“In the agreement before us today, we have labor and environmental rules that are realistic, measurable, and enforceable.

“What is NOT in this agreement are provisions for which there is no consensus, like the Paris Climate Accord or the expensive Butch Lewis Multiemployer Pension Act.

“American workers have a major victory in USMCA – and will suffer the biggest loss if Democrats fail to support this agreement.

“But truth be told, today’s markup should have taken place months ago, but Speaker Pelosi continued to hold it up.

“It has been over a year since President Trump and our North American neighbors signed the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

“It has been over six months since Mexico ratified the initial agreement and passed groundbreaking labor reform.

“And due to Democrats’ misguided obsession with impeachment, moving forward on this pro-worker and pro-growth trade agreement has been neglected.

“We’re finally moving in the House on our last day in session this year, so the Senate won’t have time left to vote on this crucial agreement until 2020.

“It didn’t have to be this way. But nonetheless, I am encouraged that we are here today finally moving forward on this new, strengthened North American trade agreement.

“It is time for us to move on this agreement, and I strongly urge all Members of this Committee to pass it.

“Because in the end, USMCA will not be a Republican win or a Democratic win, but a win for the American people and a stronger, more beneficial alliance with our North American trading partners.

“Today, we are also considering a resolution concerning the WTO. 

“I strongly support the WTO because it serves our interests to lead in setting and enforcing high-standard trade rules. 

“But it’s been clear for many years that reform is way overdue to modernize the organization, increase transparency, and address how it has strayed from its mandate, particularly with respect to the Appellate Body.     

“The United States has been raising these issues through multiple Administrations, and far too often other WTO members have been unwilling to address these concerns.

“And even while insisting that these concerns be addressed, the United States appropriately remains fully engaged in all aspects of the WTO’s work, including negotiations, transparency, and dispute settlement. 

“I commend Reps. Schweikert and Kind for introducing a bipartisan resolution that expresses strong support for the WTO while also outlining the urgent need to address these concerns. Congress is unified here – I’m pleased to support.

“Thank you, Chairman Neal.”