WASHINGTON — In an interview with C-SPAN, Wisconsin’s First District Congressman and House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan made the case for Congress passing trade promotion authority explaining how it empowers the legislative branch in trade agreements. Ryan also argued that the U.S. must provide a counterweight to China and take the lead in writing the rules of the global economy.
Audio of the interview is available here. Excerpts of Chairman Ryan’s responses follow.
150 Guidelines in TPA Give Congress a say in Trade Agreements:
“To my friends who are very suspicious or untrusting of this administration—and I share many of those concerns—trade promotion authority binds the administration to Congress’s will. Trade promotion authority puts Congress in charge of the process. Because there’s nothing stops a president from going out and negotiating an agreement and then just sending it to Congress. What we’re saying is we’re putting out the guidelines for what an agreement need to include – 150 guidelines that Congress is imposing on the administration. New transparency requirements, making sure the text is made available to the public before we even vote on it. Those are the kind of things that we’re insisting upon in trade promotion authority. So I would very much argue that by passing trade promotion authority you have Congress asserting its prerogatives, asserting its control of the process at the front end, instead of just sitting back waiting for the president to go negotiate something in secret and then send it to Congress.”
Bipartisan Agreement to Expand U.S. Access to Foreign Markets:
“We have to make things and sell overseas. And without trade agreements what companies inevitably have to do is manufacture in foreign markets in order to sell in those foreign markets. By getting a trade agreement to lower the barriers we can make things here in America and send them overseas because those barriers have been lifted. So that’s the key, and this is why it’s bipartisan. This is why you have President Barack Obama pushing for trade along with Republicans in Congress, because we know in the final analysis, when you strip out all the uncertainties and all the misperceptions, it’s really in America’s interest to do this.”
Why America Must Lead the Charge on Trade:
“95 percent of the world’s consumers don’t live in our country, they live in other countries. And so it’s vitally important that we open up markets for our products. Because, after all, 1 in 5 jobs in America is tied to trade, and most of these jobs pay more on average than non-trade-based jobs. And so it’s really a function of getting more economic growth, more job creation, and better wages.”
“The global economy is here, and it’s always constantly changing. The question is: Do we lead and guide that change or do others write the rule book? And right now, it’s really a race for whether or not America and our allies run and write the rules of the global economy, or does China? And I for one don’t want to see China writing the rules of the global economy, because I don’t think that’s in our interest. I think it’s important for America to be in the front seat, leading and guiding this, so that we can have more American jobs and higher wages.”
Providing a Counterweight to China through Trade Agreements:
“China rigs the rules in its favor because it takes our intellectual property rights. It [commits] cyber theft. It subsidizes government corporations from China to unfairly compete against American workers. And so for a whole host of reasons, China does not play by the ordinary rules, and what we get with trade agreements is getting other countries around China to play by our rules so that we can set the standards. The goal is not to lower American standards, the goal is to get the other countries to come and trade by American standards. And you can’t do that if you don’t get trade agreements.”