WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) questioned United States Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai on President Biden’s 2022 trade policy agenda at a Senate Finance Committee hearing.
Click here to watch Sen. Barrasso’s remarks on the admin’s trade agenda.
Excerpts from Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“When we last met to discuss President Biden’s trade agenda, I raised some concerns about a number of issues.
“It included U.S. Intellectual Property Rights Protections, opening new markets to Wyoming's beef, soda ash and energy, unfair Chinese trade practices, human rights violations, carbon border adjustments, World Trade Organization (WTO) reform, and trade enforcement as well.
“After more than a year, the administration failed to address any of these concerns that I have.
“Instead of protecting American intellectual property for COVID vaccines, the administration worked vigorously at the WTO to give this intellectual property away. We’ve had that interaction, you and I, in this committee room about that.
“Instead of aggressively seeking new markets for American goods, President Biden has allowed our nation to fall behind.
“Last year the trade deficit increased to an all-time high. From day one, the president made it clear that he wasn't really interested in negotiating new free trade agreements and unfortunately he's kept his word.
“Instead of prioritizing energy production at home so we can lower prices and increase exports to our friends, the president remains focused on shutting down U.S. energy production and exporting a wide array of liberal labor, social, and environmental policies instead.
“While America sits on the sidelines, China clearly is winning in this confrontation. This year China signed the largest trade deal in history.
“The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the RCP, encompasses one third of global GDP, 15 Indo-Pacific countries, and 53 percent of the world’s exports. China understands the importance of not only market access, but also securing market share.
“So, what is the Biden administration’s solution? An Indo-Pacific Economic Framework that fails to provide market access or increase market share for U.S. producers.
“It’s a series of pillars or modules that countries in the region may or may not voluntarily join. It’s also not clear to me how the framework will help us counter our adversaries and our competitors, including China.
“My home state of Wyoming understands and appreciates that trade has been very important for us historically and presently.
“We need to work with our allies to exchange goods and services across resilient, reliable supply chains. We must lower tariff barriers, trade barriers. We must provide relief for families facing skyrocketing prices, supply constraints, and a global pandemic.
“Wyoming wants to strengthen our economy and create jobs, and the trade agenda falls way short of that.
“Given your wealth of experience in international trade, can you explain how an agenda that exports progressive ideas instead of American made goods and services is going to help our country keep pace with China?”
“I want to know how we recover the market share that we have already lost without aggressively pursuing market access for U.S. producers?”