05.20.15

Peters Introduces Amendment Requiring Report on Adherence to International Trade Rules

Fair Trade Index Report Would Rank Countries Based on Trade Violations

 

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) today announced that he introduced an amendment to the Trade Promotion Authority and Trade Adjustment Assistance legislation currently being debated in the Senate to require the U.S. Trade Representative to report to Congress on how foreign trading partners adhere to fair trade rules, and provide Congress with a ranking of countries based on their unfair trade practices.

“We need tougher enforcement of our trade rules so that American workers, businesses, farmers and ranchers can compete fairly and successfully in a global marketplace. Too often, we play by the rules while other countries use tricks like currency manipulation, intellectual property theft and unfair labor standards to gain illegal trade advantages,” said Senator Peters. “This amendment will help provide Congress with a clear understanding of which countries are cheating to gain unfair advantages over the United States. This information is especially critical for trade agreements considered under expedited trade promotion authority without the opportunity for amendment by Congress.”

The amendment would require the U.S. Trade Representative to compile a Fair Trade Index report ranking countries from most to least egregious violators of fair trade rules. Currently, there is only one federal trade report that assigns rankings to countries based on their trade practices, the Special 301 report, which only evaluates intellectual property enforcement.

The Fair Trade Index report required by this amendment will examine currency manipulation, localization barriers, intellectual property protection, discriminatory preferences for domestic production, labor rights and other barriers that negatively impact trade relationships with the United States.

The reporting requirement will apply to countries the United States has negotiated with under Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), and will provide additional context for future trade deals that Congress may be required to consider on an expedited up-or-down vote without the opportunity to offer amendments.

Peters also offered an amendment with Senator Sherrod Brown (OH) that would require the approval of Congress before additional countries could join Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. The amendment provides 90 days for Congress to conduct hearings and investigations on potential new member countries so that they can be held accountable for any unfair trade practices, and requires Congressional approval before any new country may join negotiations. Peters previously led a letter to U.S Trade Representative Michael Froman voicing his concerns that TPP could include a docking provision that would allow countries like China to join the agreement in the future without Congressional oversight or approval. To read Peters’ letter, click here.

Peters has a strong record of supporting policies that protect American workers and companies from unfair trade practices. He recently sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman calling for the inclusion and implementation of strong labor standards in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement. Last month, he cosponsored legislation to strengthen monitoring and enforcement of trade rules to ensure that American workers, businesses, farmers and ranchers can compete fairly and successfully in the global marketplace.

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