Ranking Member Neal Opening Statement at Hearing on the President’s Trade Policy Agenda with USTR Robert Lighthizer
(Remarks as prepared)
Ambassador Lighthizer, I want to welcome you on behalf of the Committee Democrats. Today’s hearing is an opportunity for us to hear from you about the Administration’s vision for the U.S. trade agenda.
The Administration has been busy on trade. The headlines these past few months have been filled with stories about modernizing NAFTA, withdrawing from NAFTA, Executive Orders and Executive Memos, Section 232 national security reviews on steel and aluminum imports, Canada dairy, Mexican sugar, and the U.S.-China 100 Day Plan.
What we’ve been missing is the overall vision as well as the specifics behind all of this activity. What are the Administration’s trade policy goals? Whose interests are you trying to serve? How are you going to do it? We are looking to you for answers.
On a range of issues, there has been a lack of clarity, consistency, and consultation. For example, by statute, the Administration was required to submit a report on the trade policy agenda by March 1st. On that date, the Administration instead submitted a “statement” and promised to submit a full report after the USTR was confirmed and had a full opportunity to participate in developing the report. That report still has not been submitted to Congress.
So I hope you will clarify the Administration’s position on the full range of trade issues today, from the specific objectives of a NAFTA rewrite, to the Administration’s position on negotiating TTIP and an Environmental Goods Agreement, to how the Administration will address currency manipulation, to the Administration’s current thinking in the steel and aluminum national security investigations.
As you know, House Democrats have some of the most open minds when it comes to re-visiting and taking new directions in U.S. trade policy. We look forward to working with you to prioritize the needs of American workers and families through our trade policy.