May 01, 2014
Keith Chu: 202-224-4515
Wyden Calls For Unprecedented Transparency on Trade Deals
Finance Chairman Says U.S. Trade Policy Must Reflect Modern Economic Challenges
WASHINGTON –Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today outlined his goals for modern trade policy at a hearing with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman. Wyden said the rapidly evolving global economy requires a trade approach designed to address contemporary challenges. A key litmus test, Wyden said, will be whether USTR enhances transparency in trade negotiations so the public’s voice has a role.
“Too often, there is trade secrecy instead of trade transparency. Bringing the American people into full and open debates on trade agreements that have the effect of law is not too much to ask,” Wyden said. “We need to establish new rules that address today’s economic challenges and pass the test of producing good-paying American jobs.”
During the hearing, Wyden said advances in technology and other economic changes have created a new global economic landscape that requires a smart approach to trade policy. He cited a number of issues that impact the modern American economy, including foreign state-owned enterprises, intellectual property protection and currency manipulation.
Wyden said the development of trade policy must be backed by a strong commitment to transparency. In today’s information-driven world, the public expects to be actively engaged in the process, and has a right to know what policy questions are on the table.
Wyden also highlighted America’s advantages in the global economy: the American workforce is among the most productive anywhere by attracting top talent from around the world, and the explosive growth of the internet means American producers export $350 billion in digital goods and services every year.
Wyden said the U.S. economy can benefit from dismantling protectionist trade barriers abroad, but to do so requires reciprocal agreements on enforceable, ambitious trade deals that address discriminatory and anticompetitive practices. Wyden said new trade policy must reflect the need for a free and open internet, strong labor rights, environmental protections, and must be backed by stronger enforcement.