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Brady: President Biden’s Trade Agreement Moratorium Must Cease

May 13, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ways and Means Committee Republican Leader Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) kicked off today’s hearing examining President Biden’s 2021 trade agenda with Ambassador Tai.

After outlining his concerns with the Democrats’ tax and spend agenda that is sabotaging our jobs recovery, raising consumer prices, and making it harder for Main Street to reopen, Rep. Brady said:

“The Biden Administration’s trade agreement moratorium needs to cease. It’s not enough to buy American. We need to sell American all throughout the world. We need new customers for our blue-collar manufacturing workers, for our farmers, for our Main Street businesses.”

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Democrats Are Sabotaging U.S. Jobs Recovery:

We Need to Sell American:

  • The Biden Administration needs to end its trade agreement moratorium and pursue trade agreements that will benefit American job creators and blue-collar workers.
  • Trade remains an area of bipartisan agreement.

COVID-19 Vaccine Waiver Surrenders U.S. Technology to China:

  • Surrendering American technology and innovation does nothing to address real logistical hurdles in vaccine distribution.
  • Waiving intellectual property protections poses a danger to American patients and future development of vaccines.

Rep. Brady’s remarks as delivered appear below.

Thank you, Chairman Neal.

Welcome back to the Committee, Ambassador Tai. As I’ve said before, I have every confidence that you will be successful in this role, not only because of your trade policy expertise, but because you’re such a skilled and strong negotiator.

You understand what it takes to get trade policy done on the Hill—the need for bipartisanship, intensive consultation, and transparency. After our success on USMCA, I know that we can work together.

Republicans are eager to work with you, the Biden Administration, and Democrats to benefit American workers and families through our trade policies.

Now I admit – President Biden inherited a strong economy and life-saving vaccines – and I worry that he will sabotage our jobs recovery with crippling tax increases that hurt working families and drive American jobs overseas.

I also worry that with the federal unemployment bonus, four out of ten Americans getting paid more to stay home than to reconnect with work, which is really making Main Street businesses struggle.

But that’s all about jobs, and we have that need for jobs. This is a bipartisan issue.

And that brings me to my first point: the Biden Administration’s trade agreement moratorium needs to cease.

It’s not enough to buy American. We need to sell American all throughout the world. We need new customers for our blue-collar manufacturing workers, for our farmers, for our Main Street businesses.

We need new trade agreements to promote our workers and sell our products, whether in the UK, Kenya, Japan, the EU, the Asia-Pacific, or elsewhere.

It is the right time and we have the right U.S. trade representative in place. And we have the right bipartisan dynamics to move these agreements forward.

The first step is to renew the strong partnership between Congress and the Administration on trade through Trade Promotion Authority. We must get started quickly so we can negotiate these agreements and Sell American. As well as send a strong signal to the rest of the world that America will lead on trade.

And we have to enforce these agreements too. I’m disturbed – as you are – by Mexico’s lack of compliance on energy and agriculture in particular.

Vigorous enforcement of USMCA in its entirety is essential to maintaining the agreement’s strong bipartisan support.

We should also renew GSP and MTB. These programs should not have been allowed to lapse—it’s hurting our job creators and workers, and we must work together to move forward sooner rather than later.

And when it comes to trade with China, there is more work to be done together.

After tough negotiations, the previous Administration forced China to end barriers to U.S. agriculture and greatly improve intellectual property standards and enforcement.

I hope this Administration will not only enforce the agreement we reached but will also work with our allies to build off its success and launch the next phase.

Phase One was no easy lift. The U.S. bore the brunt by leading the negotiations. Our allies should step up with us—we are stronger together.

We also must stand by our allies. India and many other nations are in crisis and need access to COVID-19 vaccines. Republicans and Democrats alike agree we must act urgently and practically to get those vaccines to them.

But surrendering American technology, as this Administration is actively pursuing, will not solve the practical problems that are preventing vaccines from being broadly available.   

Simply handing over the U.S. technology doesn’t provide a single shot to people who need it now.

Just consider: a country has to build or adapt manufacturing to produce this pioneering technology and develop a workforce with specialized expertise. It has to acquire raw materials from all over the world, and some are in short supply. Then it has to figure out distribution. All that can take years. 

Instead of making vaccines broadly available around the world, I believe the Administration’s move endangers American patients and future medical development by punishing the companies that spent billions to innovate these life-saving vaccines.

And it rewards China, giving it the risk of access to U.S. innovation—something Chinese spies, as recently last June, were arrested for attempting to steal.

Instead, let’s look together to develop solutions that will solve the very real logistical hurdles slowing access in our developing countries as neighbors.

Finally, Republicans and Democrats share a commitment to the success—and the reform—of the WTO.

Republicans are eager to resume WTO Environmental Goods Agreement negotiations to eliminate tariffs on U.S. clean energy exports while creating American jobs and benefiting the environment.

I’ll conclude like I began: With USMCA, together we helped working families, blue-collar workers, and job creators by advancing our trade policies in a smart, bipartisan way. Let’s continue to do so.

I look forward to working with you Ambassador and with Chairman Neal on the opportunities before us. Thank you.