WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Dave Reichert (R-WA) released the following statements after President Donald Trump released his preliminary 2017 trade agenda.
Chairman Brady said:
“I appreciate President Trump’s strong support for trade agreements that grow our economy and create good jobs here at home. Done right and aggressively enforced, trade agreements turn one-way trade coming into America into two-way trade that levels the playing field for American workers around the world. Without solid trade agreements, we will see our competitors overtake us in more markets around the world and reach millions of new customers who should be ours. With 96% of the world’s consumers living outside our country, we must continue to move forward with bold new trade agreements that encourage more people to buy ‘Made in America’ products and services.
“I strongly believe that our current trade agreements—including the WTO—have been successful for Americans because these agreements establish a firm rule of law to hold our competitors in check and open markets for us to sell our goods, services, and farm products. They have also made a broad array of products available to American families at affordable prices. And when other countries don’t follow the rules, our agreements give us powerful tools through a dispute settlement process to retaliate against them. However, I agree with President Trump that we should improve our agreements to make them better serve American workers. NAFTA, for example, is decades old, and we need new disciplines on digital trade, state-owned enterprises, labor, and other unfair trade barriers. Congress has set forth in statute many detailed negotiating objectives that we want to see to improve our trade agreements.
“I look forward to working intensively with President Trump and his Administration to strengthen our existing agreements and deliver strong new trade agreements that will improve the lives of all Americans.”
Chairman Reichert said:
“I agree with the President that we must break down trade barriers for American manufacturers, farmers, and service providers through high-quality trade agreements that open up new opportunities for American businesses to sell their goods and services around the world. By forcing open markets and knocking down barriers abroad, we create here at home more good jobs that pay well—some 15 to 20 percent more than non-trade related jobs.
“If America wants to remain competitive on the world stage, we simply have to engage. Our competitors across the globe have already recognized the future belongs to those countries that trade outside their borders and create opportunities for their companies to tap into the enormous potential that is waiting in the international marketplace. We cannot afford to miss the chance for American businesses to reach new consumers—if we do not fill these markets with American products, other countries will seize them from us. And if we sit on the bench, our competitors will write the rules and create the trade standards we will all have to play by. They are ready to move ahead with or without us.
“Our current trade agreements have benefited families and communities across my home state and the country. We can—and do—hold our partners accountable to these agreements through rigorous dispute settlement proceedings with real teeth, including at the World Trade Organization. Dispute settlement allows us to win a level playing field for American businesses and workers when our trading partners have not followed the rules.
“I agree with President Trump that we can make improvements and update our agreements like NAFTA, which was negotiated many years ago. I am committed to working closely with the Administration and my colleagues in Congress to modernize our trade agreements and move forward on negotiating new ones that meet the objectives Congress has established and the high standards Americans expect and deserve.”