Providing for Consideration of Conference Report on H.R. 644, Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, and Providing for Consideration of Senate Amendments to H.R. 2250, Legislative…by Representative Ron Kind
Posted on 2015-12-11
KIND. Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend from Colorado for yielding
me this time.
Mr. Speaker, as a member of the Ways and Means Committee and as someone who has been involved in negotiations in regards to the Customs bill before us today, I rise in strong support of that bill. I encourage my colleagues to do the same.
The Customs bill before us today is not the Customs bill that was reported out of the House in June of this year, a bill, quite frankly, that I couldn't support because of extraneous provisions--controversial provisions--that got included in it.
Through the product of the give-and-take in the negotiations, I think we reached a good bipartisan compromise. This is what bipartisanship looks like: the cooperation, the give-and-take. It is not a perfect bill. I know there are still some objections to it.
At its crux, however, this bill provides us important tools and resources to enhance enforcement mechanisms so we can enforce trade agreements and the standards that we are trying to elevate in these trade agreements. For instance, this bill, with the language that I worked on very hard with my colleagues Mr. Levin and Mr. Lewis on the Ways and Means Committee will finally end the importation of goods and products based on the exploitation of child and forced and slave labor. That is in this bill.
This bill also includes the full ENFORCE Act on the Senate side, the PROMISE Act on the House side that again gives us additional tools to enforce elevated standards in the trade agreements that we lacked previously.
[[Page H9283]] It also establishes for the first time an interagency trade enforcement center to require greater coordination from our agencies when it comes to the implementation and the enforcement of trade provisions that matter, leveling the playing field for our businesses, our workers, and our farmers.
With the help of my friend from Oregon, we were able to get included a trade enforcement trust fund so that resources are dedicated for the enforcement of trade agreements. I hear that a lot from our colleagues that they are not so much concerned with what goes into the trade agreements; they are more concerned about the lack of follow-up and the enforcement of the trade agreements. Again, because of the progress we have made and the creation of this trust fund, there will be resources in the future that will enable us to better enforce the trade agreements that are in front of us.
This also, again, to the credit of the gentleman from Oregon (Mr. Blumenauer), establishes a Super 301 section, enhanced trade enforcement on key priorities, such as labor, environmental, and human rights standards that are now being negotiated in the body of these trade agreements. They are fully enforceable like any other provision. This Super 301 gives us tools now to be able to follow that up and enforce it.
This also establishes a State trade and export promotion program to help our smaller businesses, our manufacturers in our respective States to get in the game and be able to offer more export opportunities to them. We know that with exporting companies their workers are paid roughly 18 to 19 percent more than other workers in our economy, so this is a good thing to help promote exports in our own country.
This also provides our Treasury-enhanced tools when it comes to fighting against the manipulation of currency in the foreign markets. The Bennett language that was agreed to in this language is a step in the right direction when it comes to the enforcement of currency manipulation.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.