May 22, 2015

Cardin: Trade Authority Includes Enforceable Protections for Workers, Good Governance, Environment and Human Rights

American workers and farmers can out-compete global competitors if there is a level playing field.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a member of the Senate Finance Committee and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement after Senate passage of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA).

“American producers, manufacturers and farmers are the most productive in the world. They can out-compete global competitors if there is a level playing field.  Trade, if structured properly, can help create more good paying jobs for Americans.

“I believe that it’s important for Congress to pass Trade Promotion Authority. Five hundred and thirty-five members of Congress cannot negotiate with our trading partners and enter into an agreement, so we have to delegate that authority. At the same time, American workers are justifiably concerned that past trade practices and older agreements have tilted the playing field in favor of foreign competitors.

“The Trade Promotion Authority being considered by Congress is not the same delegation of Congressional authority that led to older trade agreements.  This bill modernizes and improves how the Administration negotiates agreements and raises a new level of fairness for American workers.  It includes clear and enforceable, internationally recognized standards on labor and the environment.  It includes a principal negotiating objective on good governance, rule of law, and promoting internationally recognized human rights.  It includes new provisions that enhance transparency and oversight of trade agreements and how they are negotiated.  It includes a principal negotiating objective on currency manipulation, an important issue that affects our manufacturers and farmers. Finally, this legislation is linked to Trade Adjustment Assistance, a crucial program for those workers affected by trade agreements.

“I am disappointed that more amendments could not be considered or added to this bill.  However, because I believe this bill has made significant improvements over how we have negotiated our trade agreements in the past, I voted in favor of adoption of the Trade Promotion Authority and Trade Adjustment Assistance provisions considered in the Senate.  Should this authority be eventually granted to the President by this Congress, I am committed to making sure that these hard-won improvements will truly be reflected in any trade agreements that come before the United States Senate.”