Conference Report on H.R. 644, Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015by Representative Ron Kind
Posted on 2015-12-11
KIND. I thank my friend from Michigan for yielding.
Mr. Speaker, as a member of the committee and as someone who has been involved in the negotiations of the legislation before us, I rise in strong support of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act.
The bill that we have before us today is not the bill that came out of the House in June. There are much-needed improvements. As we debate trade policy and where we are going in the 21st century global economy, we need strong enforcement mechanisms so that, when we get standards in these trade agreements that elevate it as being up to us to level the playing field for our workers, for our businesses, and for our farmers, we have the tools to ensure that those standards are enforced on an appropriate basis, so we are able to counter unfair trade practices as they are applied against us. That is exactly what is in this bill right now. This bill will end any importation of products that are made from the exploitation of child and forced labor, for instance.
This bill also includes the ENFORCE Act, additional tools to enforce the provisions that we do negotiate in future trade agreements.
This bill establishes the Interagency Trade Enforcement Center for greater coordination between our agencies in order to enforce provisions that we negotiate in trade agreements.
It establishes an enforcement trust fund, which is due to the hard work my friend and colleague from Oregon (Mr. Blumenauer) put in, so that there are dedicated resources in order to enforce the provisions that we fought to achieve.
It establishes a Super 301 section--again, enhancing the enforcement on those standards that many of us have been fighting for: core labor, environmental, human rights protections--in the body of these trade agreements, which are fully enforceable like any other provision. That Super 301 will give us tools that will enable us to move forward on that.
It also establishes a State Trade and Export Promotion Program-- reauthorizing it and funding it--to make it easier for our small businesses and our manufacturers back home to be able to export more easily. We know that those exporting companies typically pay their workers, roughly, 18 to 19 percent above other workers within that sector; so it is a win for our small businesses back home.
It is not a perfect bill. It is the product of compromise and bipartisanship. I think it advances the ball when it comes to key enforcement. I encourage my colleagues to support it.