December 04,2014

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Hatch Honored with World Trade Award by National Foreign Trade Council

WASHINGTON – In a speech at an event with the National Foreign Trade Council tonight, Finance Committee Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) reiterated the need for Congress and the Administration to promote a robust trade agenda, including passage of job-creating Trade Promotion Authority (TPA).  Hatch was honored with the 2014 World Trade Award, for lifetime achievement in opening markets worldwide to U.S. trade and investment. 

“I am quite optimistic that 2015 can be a real turning point in U.S. trade policy.  2015 can be the year that Congress and the administration join together to actively promote a U.S. trade agenda that will open up new opportunities for the American worker.  One of our first steps will be advancing legislation to renew Trade Promotion Authority,” Hatch said. 

The complete speech, as prepared for delivery, is below:


            Thank you Ambassador Hills for that kind introduction.

I also want to express my appreciation to Ambassador Alan Wolff and NFTC President Bill Reinsch. Congratulations on the 100th anniversary of the NFTC.  

It is a real honor for me to be recognized by the National Foreign Trade Council.  For 100 years, the NFTC has stood at the forefront of U.S. international trade policy, helping advance ideas, rallying coalitions in favor of open markets, and forcefully fighting against protectionism.  You have been a leader in every major trade battle since the early part of the 20th Century. 

Having participated in many of them personally myself, I can tell you that is no easy accomplishment.

The key is stamina, hard-work, and perhaps most important, commitment – a passionate commitment to the belief that open international trade policies are fundamental to our nation’s growth and prosperity.

I share that commitment.

The United States has long been a leader in advocating for free and open trade.  It has not always been that way. 

The opening of the Panama Canal 100 years ago is often viewed as a symbol of America’s new role in the world economy.  Through that work, President Roosevelt made it clear that America would not stand by and let other nations shape the world – America would participate, and lead.

And lead we did.

From the reciprocal trade agreements act of 1934, to the creation of the GATT, the WTO, NAFTA, and our most recent trade agreements, America has led the way, creating the institutions and defining the rules of the international trading system.

It is easy to look back today and think of these accomplishments as preordained, but they were not.  Each one of them were achieved only through sustained vision, hard work, and the toil of many hands.

Some of the names of those who made those ideas a reality are well known: Cordell Hull, Christian Herter, Clayton Yeutter, and of course, my good friend Ambassador Carla Hills. 

There is no doubt we would not be where we are today without leaders like these.  But there are so many others whose names are not well known, who devoted their lives and careers to the cause of free and open markets over the past century. 

Today their work is carried on by you. Each of you are here today because you believe in the power of open markets.  You are the hands that will toil today to help create a world of growth and prosperity for our children and grandchildren, just as our predecessors did for us. 

It is a task we cannot take lightly and it is a task in which we cannot fail.

For nearly a decade, our nation’s ability to lead on international trade has been hobbled by our lack of Trade Promotion Authority. While some strides were made in passing our most recent trade agreements negotiated under prior trade authority and new initiatives have since been launched, we will not be able to bring those deals home without renewal of TPA. 

That is why achieving renewal of TPA will remain a top priority for me in the new Congress.

Let me be clear. I stand ready to work with Chairman Wyden, my colleagues in the Senate and the House, and the administration to get it done, get it done right, and get it done soon. 

But I also want to be clear that I will not wait forever for everyone to be satisfied before moving forward. 

Renewing TPA is not easy – no major trade legislation ever is.  But that does not mean we should not try. 

Even though success is not guaranteed we cannot let our fear of failure hold us back.  In fact, more often than not, pessimism abounds whenever we begin to undertake major trade legislation – but in the end we get started and we win.  Rest assured I will do all in my power to create an environment that will help us succeed.  I hope you all will work with me to do the same.

I am confident that, once we begin moving some major trade legislation, the other elements of our international trade agenda will start to fall into place.

I am personally distressed that the Finance Committee did not move a single piece of trade legislation this past year.  That leaves us with much to do in the coming Congress.  

Renewal of the Generalized System of Preferences and the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act are high priorities for me.

I would also like to see us devise a more predictable and uniform way to provide temporary duty relief to U.S. manufacturers who use foreign inputs that do not compete with domestic products as part of their manufacturing process.

Modernization and reauthorization of Customs and Border Patrol is also long overdue.

We also need to take a hard look at how our international trade agencies are operating through aggressive oversight, so that the American people can be assured that the administration is operating efficiently and getting U.S. trade priorities right.

We could certainly improve in that area.

For example, I am deeply disappointed that protection of U.S. intellectual property rights does not appear to be a very high priority for this administration. 

Our Founding Fathers believed intellectual property to be so fundamental to America’s future prosperity that they explicitly granted Congress the constitutional authority to protect it. 

Strong intellectual property protection incentivizes American entrepreneurs to take risks and persevere through failure because they know they will be rewarded for their successful innovations.  Once they are successful, America’s innovators should be able to export their products around the world without fear that their ideas, creativity, or inventions will be stolen. 

I have already introduced a number of initiatives to ensure that intellectual property protection is at the forefront of U.S. trade policy but there is more that can be done. I plan to pull together a strong coalition to ensure that all our international trade agreements contain strong intellectual property rights provisions, that the administration has the tools necessary to combat intellectual property theft, and that international organizations in which the U.S. is a member – such as the World Intellectual Property Organization and the World Health Organization – pursue policies that advance, rather than erode, the protection of intellectual property rights. 

I am quite optimistic that 2015 can be a real turning point in U.S. trade policy. 

2015 can be the year that Congress and the administration join together to actively promote a U.S. trade agenda that will open up new opportunities for the American worker. 

One of our first steps will be advancing legislation to renew Trade Promotion Authority.

Today, the President rightly acknowledged TPA is critical to advancing his trade agenda and creating prosperity for American job-creators and workers.

This is long overdue.

If past experience has taught us anything it’s that we need presidential leadership to get TPA over the finish line.  The President’s influence, particularly among members of his own party, will be a vital component to congressional efforts.

Of course, once we succeed in renewing TPA, many new trade opportunities will be unleashed.

Most notably, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which has been under negotiation for almost five years, may finally come to a successful conclusion.  Other initiatives, such as the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the Trade in Services Agreement, and the Environmental Goods Agreement, will all get a boost from renewal of TPA.  And, since we are seeking long-term renewal of TPA, many new trade opportunities not yet envisioned may present themselves, either under the current administration or the next. 

With TPA renewed, America will have the tools necessary to lead once again.

Now, in addition to a robust trade agenda, I know many of you are also concerned about the state of our nation’s tax code. 

Believe me, I share your concern.

It has been nearly 30 years since the last overhaul of our tax code and, since that time, our tax code has grown exponentially.  Today, we have a code that is rife with distortions, complexity, and unfairness. 

Put simply, tax reform is well past due. 

We need a tax code that, as others have said, looks like it was designed on purpose.

Three decades ago, President Reagan put forward three criteria for tax reform: economic growth, fairness, and simplicity. 

While today’s economy looks much different than that of 1986 – the last time a major tax reform bill made its way through Congress – President Reagan’s principles are still relevant today. 

Those three principles – let me repeat them: economic growth, fairness, and simplicity – will be the guiding force behind any tax reform effort that I’m a part of. 

Make no mistake, tax reform is going to be difficult.  I’m not under any illusions that there is an easy answer out there.  But, it is necessary.

I wish I could tell you today how it was all going to turn out.  Indeed, I wish I had the details of a negotiated tax reform package ready to share with everyone here.  But, alas, we have a lot more work to do. 

I have to say that I’m looking forward to it. 

It’s been a while since the American people saw their leaders – from both parties – come together on something big.  In my opinion, it’s long overdue.

We have an opportunity to do just that with both tax reform and our nation’s trade agenda.

Both trade and tax policy are areas where lofty ideals must join hand in hand with hard work to succeed. 

The history of the NFTC shows what can be achieved when a group of like-minded people join together to advance a common cause. 

So, congratulations on your century of success.  And thank you, once again, for honoring me with this year’s World Trade Award. 

While I understand that this is a lifetime achievement award, I guarantee you that I am not done yet! 

Together, we are going to accomplish great things. 

Thank you for your support, your hard work, and your commitment to open markets and free trade.  

God bless you all.