Brown, Dorgan, Michaud, Sanchez, And Colleagues; Labor Leaders; Fair Trade Activists Unveil The Trade Act
Legislation Would Create New Path For U.S. Trade Policy
June 4, 2008
WASHINGTON – United States Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today was joined by Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Congressman Mike Michaud (D-ME), Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (D-Lakewood), and other members of Congress at a Capitol Hill news conference to introduce the Trade Reform, Accountability, Development, and Employment (TRADE) Act.
Endorsed by more than a dozen fair trade groups, the TRADE ACT is a first of its kind pro-trade bill that would revamp U.S. trade policy. The bill would mandate trade pact reviews, establish standards, protect workers in developing nations, and would help restore Congressional oversight of future trade agreements.
“The TRADE ACT will help Congress and the White House craft a trade agreement that benefits workers, business owners, and our country,” said Brown. “We want trade, and we want more of it. The TRADE Act is a critical first step on a new path for trade.”
Brown, who led the bipartisan House opposition to the Central American Free Trade Agreement, was also joined by International Brotherhood of Teamsters President James Hoffa, Communication Workers of America President Larry Cohen, and fair trade advocates from faith-based, farm, and environmental groups.
“Trade done right means new jobs and new industry at home – and means lifting up workers in developing nations,” Brown said. “For too long our nation’s trade policy has exploited workers, betrayed middle class families, and destroyed communities. It is time for a trade policy that works for everyone, not just a few.”
The TRADE ACT would:
• Require the Government Accountability Office to conduct a comprehensive review of existing trade agreements with an emphasis on economic results, enforcement and compliance, and an analysis of non-tariff provisions in trade agreements;
• Spell out standards for labor and environmental protections, food and product safety, national security exceptions, and remedies that must be included in new trade pacts;
• Set requirements with respect to public services, farm policy, investment, government procurement, and affordable medicines that have been incorporated in trade agreements;
• Require the president to submit renegotiation plans for current trade pacts prior to negotiating new agreements and prior to congressional consideration of pending agreements;
• Create a committee comprised of the chairs and ranking members of each committee whose jurisdiction is affected by trade agreements to review the president’s plan for renegotiations; and
• Restore Congressional oversight of trade agreements.
***A copy of the bill language can be found here***
Press release from Senator Sherrod Brown's office.