Conference Report on H.R. 644, Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015by Representative Suzanne Bonamici
Posted on 2015-12-11
in the house of representatives
Friday, December 11, 2015
Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 644, the Trade
Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act. This bill is an improvement on
the previous version that I opposed in June.
For the past several years I have had many conversations with the people of Northwest Oregon about growing jobs and increasing exports. I've heard from workers, business owners, environmentalists, and others about the importance of enforcing and strengthening our existing trade laws and agreements. Strong trade facilitation and enforcement will keep other nations accountable for the labor and environmental standards we set and give the United States the ability to take swift action against those who seek to engage in unscrupulous trade practices.
The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act earned my support because it includes provisions that are important for my constituents and for employers in Oregon, and because it provides resources and tools to take action against trade cheats.
This bill incorporates the ENFORCE Act to require quick action on allegations of evasion of duties, dumping, and improper subsidies. A special enforcement fund would provide up to $30 million each year dedicated to enforcing trade agreements and making sure trading partners meet their commitments.
It permanently establishes the Interagency Trade Enforcement Center to pursue across-agency enforcement of domestic trade rights and trade laws. There are also strong provisions to put an end to importation of products made by child and forced labor.
Oregon receives funding through the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) grant program to help small businesses find new markets for their products and boost job growth. This legislation reauthorizes STEP through 2020 and increases its funding to expand small business exports.
The Pacific Northwest is known for its great outdoors and recreational opportunities in the mountains, forests, beaches, rivers, and on the coast. Recreational outerwear businesses thrive in our region, marketing outerwear and active wear to sporting enthusiasts around the world. This legislation includes provisions that will make these products more competitive and reverse a scheduled increase in tariffs for small and medium-sized outdoor industry businesses.
Mr. Speaker, as I said at the outset, this is not a perfect bill, but it is a bipartisan compromise. On the heels of the historic Paris Climate Agreement, our nation will continue to lead the world in addressing climate change; the language in this legislation will not change that.
The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act is a step forward and I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to ensure that our nation has strong enforcement mechanisms to ensure our employers and workers can compete on a level playing field in the global economy.