Passage of Bipartisan Trade Bill Would Enhance U.S. Economic Leadership

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor today regarding the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act:

“On the topic of aggressive campaigns in pursuit of expansion and intimidation, there are several other countries that come to mind around the world.
“China, for one.
“China is determined to dominate its neighbors.
“China wants to diminish American influence in the Pacific.
“And China wants to substitute American-style rules of global economic fair play for Chinese-style rules of monopolistic cartels and mercantilism.
“That’s not an outcome any American should be willing to accept.
“We are a Pacific nation.
“We have important allies in the region, nations like Japan, Australia, South Korea, and New Zealand that are today just as much a part of a modern, democratic, and market-oriented West as we are.
“The 21st Century also promises to be an Asian-Pacific century. If we care about preserving and extending American leadership globally, then we cannot cede the most dynamic region in the world to China. 

“One way to preserve our leadership would be to invest in the weapons systems and platforms that would fulfill the Obama administration's would be ‘pivot' to Asia.
“Another important way would be to demonstrate our economic leadership.

“That’s one more reason why passing the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act is so important.
“The United States is currently negotiating an agreement with a whole host of Pacific nations — not just Japan and Australia, but also countries like Canada and Chile — that would cement and enhance our role in the world’s fastest-growing region. The so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership would lower unfair trade barriers to American-made goods and American produce sold in the Pacific. That would represent a huge win for American workers and American farmers, to say nothing of the far-reaching geopolitical implications for our country.
“But our trade negotiators cannot bring this Pacific agreement back to Congress for careful review and deliberation unless Congress assures our trading partners that the agreement they is going to get a fair up or down vote.  That’s just what the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act would do. This bipartisan bill would also force America’s trade negotiators to meet congressional objectives and consult with Congress regularly throughout the process, and it would ensure that an agreement like the Trans-Pacific Partnership could not be enacted without explicit congressional approval.
“It’s a common-sense bill that was supported by large numbers of Republicans and Democrats in committee, passing by a vote of 20 to 6.
“So there’s no reason we shouldn’t turn to this bill and then pass it.
“The other countries in the region have made clear that they will have regional trade agreements with or without us. And if we walk away, China will step in. There’s no question of that.
“So we will soon turn to the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act. And when we do, we’ll have a choice to make. Would we rather see Chinese workers and Chinese farmers or American workers and American farmers reap the economic benefits of selling more to this dynamic region?”

Related Issues: TPP, Free Trade, Trade Promotion Authority, Jobs, Economy, Middle Class, China, Restoring the Senate