Friday, April 24, 2015

Just in


Washington—Citing the inclusion of critical new provisions to hold the Administration accountable, Idaho Senator Mike Crapo voted with the majority of Senate Finance Committee members today to approve a trade promotion authority (TPA) measure.  The bill lays the groundwork for removing trade barriers and better positions the United States to negotiate and secure fair trade agreements that would result in greater market access for millions of American farmers, ranchers and manufacturers.  U.S. exporters face higher tariffs abroad than nearly all our trade competitors and rank 130th among 138 economies in terms of tariffs faced by its exports. 
“This has been a difficult vote because the negotiating process for recent trade agreements has been too secretive with few details being made public,” said Crapo.  “This has raised strong concern about whether the President would negotiate away American sovereignty, or agree to change U.S. law, in both trade and non-trade related areas, in dangerous ways.  I was expecting to vote no because I didn’t have the confidence that we would be able to hold the Administration accountable in trade negotiations.  

“Fortunately, however, we have been able to negotiate changes to the trade promotion authority process that will provide significant protections against these concerns.  These changes include, but are not limited to, language protecting the sovereignty of the United States, limiting negotiating authority to trade related objectives, prohibiting negotiation of non-trade related issues, expanding Congressional involvement and oversight, requiring heightened transparency, and allowing Congress to withdraw trade promotion authority if the Administration fails to comply with these rigorous requirements.     

“If the Administration does not meet these standards, it should not be surprised if it loses the votes of many free trade supporters who have been disappointed with the process so far.  While I have supported some trade agreements, far too often, we have bad deals that I opposed such as NAFTA and CAFTA.

“I will scrutinize each trade agreement on its merits and whether it promotes trade and jobs in Idaho.  I have voted against agreements that are not in Idaho’s best interest in the past and am prepared to do so again,” Crapo concluded. 

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