March 03,2016

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Keith Chu (202) 224-3789 

Wyden Hammers Need to Enforce Trade Agreements from Day One

Strong Implementation is Key to Maximizing Benefits of Trade for American Workers

WASHINGTON Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today hammered home the need to get trade enforcement right from the start, by taking the time to ensure foreign trading partners live up to their commitments in trade deals, in a committee hearing today.

“My number one goal, when it comes to the cutthroat global economy, is to fight for American workers. I believe our trade policies must spur the creation of red-white-and-blue jobs that can support a middle-class family in Oregon and around the country,” Wyden said. “You do that by enforcing the rules here at home, stopping unfair trade before it hurts American workers and families. And you do it by making sure every nation plays by the rules.”

Now that Congress has passed the strongest package of new trade enforcement laws in decades, Wyden said stepping up trade enforcement before deals are implemented is the next front in getting a better deal for U.S. workers.

In some cases, the United States has shortchanged implementation. NAFTA, despite being the largest free trade agreement in history at the time it was signed, was implemented in just 24 days. Wyden cited illegal logging in Peru and access to Korea’s auto market as two examples where better implementation would provide more benefits for U.S. workers.

Wyden noted USTR is now required by law to consult with the Finance Committee and Members of Congress on implementation of new trade agreements. One month before any agreement can go into effect, the president must notify Congress and the public that the administration determined that trading partners have lived up to their obligations in the trade agreement, bringing some new accountability into the process. 

Wyden’s opening statement at today’s hearing can be found here.