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 U.S.-China Trade and Competition.
Before the start of today’s hearing, Rep. Brady and Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL), the top Republican on the Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee, sent a letter to Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA). CLICK HERE to read the full letter.
CLICK HERE to watch the hearing.
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
“Before I begin, I want to take a moment to pause to recognize a key member of the tax policy community.
“Fiona Heckscher, counsel for the full House who specialized in drafting tax legislation, tragically passed away this weekend.
“Fiona worked with members and our staffs to turn our policy ideas into text that could become law.
“A lawyer with Ivy League credentials, Fiona dedicated her life to service.
“Serving as a corps member for Teach for America, and ultimately finding herself in one of the few nonpartisan offices on Capitol Hill, helping all of us do the work our constituents sent us here to do.
“I want to send my deepest condolences to her and her family, and the entire staff of the legislative counsel office. She will be missed.
“This is an important hearing we are having today.
“For decades, China has cheated, and the United States has paid a steep price in lost economic opportunity and jobs.
“Congress after Congress, President after President, made little progress—until President Trump confronted China.
“The result? Historic progress toward a fairer U.S.-China trading relationship.
“President Trump and Ambassador Lighthizer worked diligently to reset our trade rules with China and achieved a remarkable victory for American workers.
“This phase one agreement puts America first. It contains real and enforceable commitments from China to end unfair trade practices and level the playing field for American workers, manufacturers, farmers, and businesses.
“Let’s look at specifics. The phase one agreement moves light years ahead in protecting America’s intellectual property. It forces China to adopt OUR rules on agriculture standards and biotech. It opens China’s financial services markets to our companies. It tears down other structural barriers that have prevented U.S. businesses from competing in China. And it moves a huge distance in constraining China’s practice of forcing American companies to transfer technology to Chinese entities just to do business there.
“In addition, the agreement dramatically expands U.S. agriculture, energy, and other sales to China, creating new opportunities for Americans.
“And most importantly, the Administration got China to commit to allow us to fully enforce this agreement. Right there in the text of the agreement, we have specific timetables for China’s implementation and full accountability measures if these commitments are not kept. That means rapid and effective discipline on China, like never before, so that American workers and businesses receive all of the concessions China agreed to.
“The President has shown time and again that he won’t stand idly by when it comes to enforcing our rights, and he will do so if China does not follow through.
“Republicans stand in strong support of this phase one agreement because it will benefit American farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and providers of services.
“Now, while this progress is important and historic, there is a reason that this is a ‘phase one’ agreement. China has been cheating for a long time; it won’t overhaul its entire economic model overnight.
“That’s where phase two comes in. Republicans will continue to work with the President to force China to take the next step to address other distortions, like subsidies, cyber issues, state-owned enterprises, and cross-border data flows.
“We want to level the playing field with China for all sectors of our economy. From farmers to tech workers, blue collar to white collar, all U.S. workers deserve fairness when it comes to competing with and in China.
“As we know, getting to a phase one agreement wasn’t easy. Both countries implemented substantial tariffs, which I know created many hardships. The President has now lifted some of those tariffs. The tariffs that remain in place provide leverage to motivate China to move to phase two.
“Republicans’ goal is to have all of China’s unfair trade practices addressed and stopped so that ALL of these tariffs can be lifted.
“In the meantime, we must minimize unintended consequences to our farmers, manufacturers, and consumers. We are committed to a fair, efficient, and transparent process to exclude products that are otherwise unavailable to our businesses and consumers so that our economy can continue to grow.
“This President has scored a major success with China.
“In today’s hearing, I look forward to discussing this progress, and what comes next.
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”