Neal and Blumenauer Slam Trump Administration’s Trade Engagement with Bolsonaro Government

Oct 19, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) and Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) released the following statements regarding the Trump Administration’s increased trade cooperation with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro:  
Chairman Neal: 

“With this trade deal, the Trump Administration has circumvented Congress to reward a Brazilian administration that lacks respect for basic human rights, the environment, and its own workers. Giving President Bolsonaro ammunition to claim that the United States endorses his behavior sullies our nation’s reputation as a country that demands our trade partners respect human rights and the rule of law. Instead of addressing these deeply concerning issues, President Trump and the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) chose to unilaterally move forward with this agreement and ignored congressional trade leaders’ strong opposition to such action. In what may be the eleventh hour of the Trump Administration, USTR has flouted Congress to undermine the United States’ values and standing in the world.”

Subcommittee Chairman Blumenauer: 

“President Jair Bolsonaro’s abysmal record on human rights, the environment, and corruption are why Democrats on the Ways and Means Committee have long opposed a trade agreement or expanded economic partnership with Brazil.
“The USTR’s actions today are not just a slap in the face to lawmakers who have outlined these concerns, but it’s a bad deal for the U.S. While we get minimal, unenforceable trade facilitation measures with a pseudo-dictator, Bolsonaro gets legitimacy and the ability to tout a closer relationship with the most powerful nation in the world. This cheapens our relationships and diminishes our moral standing in the world.
“Congress has delegated much of its trade authority to the USTR and this delegation depends on trust and mutual respect. Today’s agreement and Lighthizer’s other mini agreements entered into without Congressional buy-in are deteriorating the Congressional-Executive relationship and may force a rebalancing of delegated powers.”

Ways and Means Democrats previously raised their opposition to the Trump Administration’s intent to pursue an expanded economic partnership with Brazil under the leadership of President Jair Bolsonaro in a June 3, 2020 letter to USTR