Ranking Member Rangel Opening Statement at Trade Subcommittee Hearing on Enforcement of U.S. Trade Laws

Sep 27, 2016
Press Release

(Remarks as prepared)

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Commissioner Kerlikowske, you and your team face many daunting challenges.  Not only are you responsible for enforcing nearly 500 U.S. trade laws and regulations on behalf of 47 federal agencies.  You also are responsible for seizing imports of illegal drugs, for enforcing our immigration laws, and for securing our border from terrorist threats.  So I want to begin by expressing my appreciation for all that you and your team do, and by offering to help however we can.

In the past, this Committee has had reason for concern that the trade facilitation and trade enforcement functions that Customs performs may be getting neglected.  Since 9/11, we all recognize the supreme importance of securing our borders, particularly from threats of terrorism.  At the same time, our nation’s security also depends on our international engagement with other nations – and trade is an important part of that.

I am pleased to see that Customs is doing a better job of both facilitating trade and enforcing our trade laws.  In particular, you deserve special attention for breathing new life into a law first passed in 1930 to block imports of goods made with forced and child labor.  I was deeply disappointed to learn that Customs didn’t enforce that law even once over the past 16 years, but I am encouraged that you did so on four different products this year. 

I also am hopeful that, with the process my colleague Linda Sanchez helped create through the ENFORCE Act, Customs will do a much better job of enforcing our antidumping orders.  Congress wanted to replace a black box with a transparent and effective mechanism to stop duty evasion, and I think Ms. Sanchez’s bill did that.

I also hope that the Customs bill Congress passed earlier this year will strengthen the enforcement of our intellectual property laws.  You will be issuing a report to us later this week on that important subject, and my staff and I look forward to reviewing it.

Thank you again, Mr. Chairman.  Mr. Commissioner, I look forward to hearing your testimony.