Conference Report on H.R. 644, Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015by Representative Linda T. Sánchez
Posted on 2015-12-11
SANCHEZ of California. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to
speak about the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015. I
am extremely frustrated that, after the long path to get us to the
conference report before us today, I won't be able to support the bill.
As I said during our conference committee meeting earlier this week: if Customs were truly all that this bill was about, it would pass overwhelmingly on the floor.
I strongly support the bulk of what is in the final bill. Trade enforcement should always move in lockstep with our trade policy. It is only when countries live up to agreed-upon laws and regulations that we can truly have robust trade, but robust trade also requires strong enforcement.
Particularly for me, I am pleased that the bulk of the ENFORCE Act is finally at the finish line after many years of work. One of my biggest priorities for several years has been finding a way to combat the blatant abuse and duty evasion by some foreign producers that undercut American industry. Foreign companies use schemes to avoid paying the duties they owe on goods that they bring into the United States.
We will finally give some real teeth to our enforcement procedures and send the right message to domestic manufacturers, employers, and workers that this Congress cares about Customs enforcement. This idea doesn't hinder free trade. Instead, it promotes fair trade and sends a strong signal to foreign producers that the U.S. will not tolerate abuses of internationally agreed upon trade rules. By increasing our Customs security measures, we ensure that American companies that play by the rules are not disadvantaged as a result of evasion by foreign competitors.
Unfortunately, unrelated TPA language included in the final bill will keep me from being able to support something that I have worked on for many, many years.
In this bill, we fail to address currency manipulation in a meaningful way. The conference report also falls short in the areas of climate change and human trafficking. Specifically, we should not tie our hands when it comes to combating climate change, nor should we be rushing to increase our trade with countries that persist in allowing human trafficking. To me, these are not the values of this country. They are no-brainers, and they shouldn't be in this bill. But today, we fell short.
For those reasons, I cannot support the final Customs package that we have before us today.