Trade and Environment Enforcement Actby Representative Earl Blumenauer
Posted on 2013-12-12
in the house of representatives
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Speaker, today I introduced the Trade and
Environment Enforcement Act, also known as the Green 301 Act. Green 301
expands the Section 301 provisions of the Trade Act of 1974 to
encompass environmental effects. It provides tools to help prevent
practices by other countries that cause negative environmental impacts
to human, animal, or plant life or health, or to prevent the
conservation of exhaustible natural resources domestically or
The United States has helped to create the largest trade network the world has ever seen. As we leverage our commercial influence in the global economy, we can also ensure the countries we are doing business with are adhering to basic environmental standards.
Green 301 would allow the U.S. government to impose penalties, including the increase of tariffs, on countries that: fail to effectively enforce the environmental laws of a foreign country; waived or otherwise derogated from the environmental laws of a foreign country or weakened the protections afforded by such laws; fail to provide for judicial or administrative proceedings giving access to remedies for violations of the environmental laws of a foreign country; fail to provide appropriate and effective sanctions or remedies for violations of the environmental laws of a foreign country; or fail to effectively enforce environmental commitments in agreements to which a foreign country and the United States are a Party.
The promise of an open, mutually beneficial trade relationship with the U.S. is both a carrot and a stick. Green 301 lets our trade partners know that, not only does the United States expect our partners to adhere to environmental agreements, but now there could be serious economic penalties for countries that don't hold up their end of the bargain.
My support for international trade agreements has always been predicated on the notion that agreements establish a fair, rules-based trading regime. The economy of my state is heavily trade-dependent. Oregon's iconic brands would not exist without strong international trading relationships. Oregon's largest private employer, Intel, is a product of the international market for high-tech products.
Oregon and other states are greatly disadvantaged when our trading partners derogate from their environmental laws, which provide them with an unfair advantage and undercuts U.S. companies, which operate under our own strong environmental protections. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that trade remains free and open, but, in incorporating environmental and labor protections, also meets basic expectations of fairness.