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Ryan Keeps Making the Case for Trade

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April 30, 2015 | Robert Swift (202-225-3031) | comments

This week, First District Congressman and House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan has been making the case for swift Congressional consideration of the Bipartisan Congressional Trade and Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015, which will give Congress a say in trade agreements with Pacific and European nations, increase accountability and transparency, and ensure American workers and job creators get the best trade deals possible.

On Saturday, Congressman Ryan delivered the Weekly Republican Address, saying in part:

“Right now, the United States is negotiating two historic trade agreements—one with our friends on the Pacific Rim and another with our friends in Europe. We need these trade agreements so we can lay down fair and strong rules that tear down trade barriers and open markets to American products.

"Ninety six percent of the world's consumers—they don't live in the United States; they live in other countries. We have to make more things in America and sell them overseas, so we can create more jobs here at home. And when we do, America's workers will benefit. Manufacturing jobs that rely on trade pay 16 percent more on average.

"But today, the deck is stacked against our workers in far too many places. We let other countries sell their products over here. But they've put up trade barriers that make it hard to sell our products over there.

“These trade agreements will level the playing field for America's workers. But to complete them, we need TPA.”

This morning at IJReview.com, Congressman Ryan detailed precisely how Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) will make these trade agreements more transparent and how it will hold the President accountable:             

“Here are the top eight ways TPA will empower Congress:

  1. Read the negotiating text: Right now, nothing requires the administration to allow a member of Congress to read the negotiating text of an agreement. But under TPA, every member will be able to read the text of the agreement all throughout the talks.
  2. Receive up-to-date briefings: Sometimes, reading the text isn’t enough. A member of Congress wants to know where the talks are headed. TPA will require the U.S. trade representative’s (USTR) office to brief any member who asks on the status of the negotiations.
  3. Attend negotiating rounds: If that’s not enough, how about actually attending the talks? Under TPA, any interested member will be able to become a “congressional adviser” to U.S. negotiators. All designated congressional advisers will be able to attend negotiating rounds.
  4. Consult with negotiators: TPA will also create House and Senate Advisory Groups on Negotiations to oversee the talks and receive regular briefings, according to a fixed timetable. Any member will be able to submit his or her views to the group.
  5. Provide public summaries: Right now, there’s little public information about how an agreement is shaping up. TPA will require USTR to post up-to-date summaries of each chapter of the agreement so people can see what’s up.
  6. Create with a new transparency officer: TPA will create a chief transparency officer at USTR that will consult with Congress and the public on transparency policies.
  7. Make the text public: The ultimate judge is the American people, so they should be able to read the text themselves. For the first time ever, TPA will codify in law the public’s right to review the agreement before the President puts his signature on it. TPA will require the administration to publish the text of a completed trade agreement at least 60 days before agreeing to it. That’s even before Congress considers a vote.
  8. Tell Congress how he will implement the agreement: Finally, at least 30 days before Congress considers the final bill, the president must tell Congress how he intends to enact the agreement if Congress passes the implementing bill.”

And yesterday, in advance of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s address before a joint session of Congress, Ryan penned a piece in the Washington Post calling for Japan to drop trade barriers and open agriculture and auto markets to U.S. products, noting:  

“If the United States and Japan lock arms, we can resist China’s bullying and reassert leadership in the Asia-Pacific. In the long term, a successful TPP would be a sign of renewed vigor in our alliance — in which all our allies could take comfort. And in the near term, the clearest sign of a successful state visit would be a firm commitment from Abe to eliminate the farm and auto barriers.

The United States is waiting. The world is watching. And for both countries, the opportunity is huge. Shinzo Abe is a once-in-a-generation leader with a once-in-a-generation opportunity. He put it best when he said, “Without action, there can be no growth.” I can think of no better reason to drop the trade barriers and complete the TPP.”

To find out more on why TPA and trade are so important for our economy growth, click here.

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