McConnell Welcomes Japanese PM Abe, Calls for Senate Passage of Trade Promotion Bill
‘The Trans-Pacific Partnership could also, according to one recent estimate, support up to nearly a quarter-million additional jobs in the U.S., including more than 50,000 American jobs in the manufacturing sector alone.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor welcoming Prime Minister Shino Abe:
“Later this morning, we’ll welcome an important friend of the United States to the Capitol: Shinzo Abe, Japan’s Prime Minister.
“I’m looking forward to hearing what he has to say. I know many of my colleagues feel the same way.
“Because Prime Minister Abe doesn’t just lead one of the most important countries and economies in the Asia-Pacific region — he leads one of the most important countries and economies in the entire world.
“Abe has proposed to tackle some tough structural problems other leaders in his country might not touch. But he knows the Japanese people can be persuaded to reward their leaders for taking risks.
“Abe previously served in the cabinet of a free-market prime minister who grabbed hold of economic third-rails of Japanese politics — and then rolled to landslide victory when others counted him out.
“Perhaps that’s why Abe feels liberated to pursue new initiatives of his own.
“On the domestic side, Abe has proposed structural reforms.
“And on the international front, Abe has worked to enhance the role and influence of democratic nations, like the two of ours, in the Asia-Pacific. Just this week in Washington, he signed important agreements with the U.S. on cybersecurity and defense.
“This all serves to underline the enduring importance of the U.S.-Japan alliance. It also reminds us that the Obama Administration must do its part too, by investing in the platforms and capabilities needed to make its announced ‘pivot’ to Asia real. That’s the only way to both bolster democratic nations like Japan in the region while also effectively countering China’s aggressive encroachment upon the territorial and navigational rights of its neighbors.
“Trade is another important way to advance our common values and strengthen our national security and economy.
“For years, Japan and the U.S. had a difficult trading relationship.
“Today though, U.S. and Japanese negotiators actually appear close to reaching an agreement that could significantly lower existing barriers to trade, benefitting both of our economies.
“That breakthrough is being negotiated as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement between Pacific nations like Japan, Australia, and the U.S. that would help ensure the region and the world play by fair rules, instead of ceding the field to an increasingly aggressive China.
“The Trans-Pacific Partnership could also, according to one recent estimate, support up to nearly a quarter-million additional jobs in the U.S., including more than 50,000 American jobs in the manufacturing sector alone.
“But American and Kentucky workers and farmers will never be able to reap the rewards of selling more ‘Made in America’ goods to the Pacific until Congress passes a bipartisan trade promotion bill.
“Passing that bipartisan legislation is key to enhancing Congress’ role in the trade process, while simultaneously ensuring Presidents of either party will have the tools they need to secure strong and enforceable trade agreements for American workers.
“The bill recently passed the Finance Committee on an overwhelming bipartisan vote, and I intend to take it up once we complete action on the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act.
“But for now, let me just say again that Congress is pleased to have the Prime Minister join us today.
“We thank Prime Minister Abe and his country for their enduring friendship.”
Related Issues: Trade Promotion Authority, TPP, Free Trade, Economy, Jobs, Middle Class