May 12, 2021

Crapo: To Strengthen Economy, We Must Fully Reopen and Execute An Ambitious Trade Policy

Effective trade policy requires enforcement, negotiation of new rules and market access and congressional consultation

Washington, D.C.--During his opening statement at a Senate Finance Committee Hearing on the Administration’s Trade Agenda, Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) highlighted significant progress made in ending the COVID-19 pandemic, but expressed disappointment with progress on strengthening the economy.  In order to boost economic activity, Crapo said we need an ambitious trade policy focused on enforcement, negotiation of new rules, increased market access and opportunities, and consultation with Congress. 

“[We have] record vaccine development thanks to Operation Warp Speed and continued efforts by the Biden Administration to get shots in arms,” Crapo said.  “Unfortunately, with regard to [strengthening the economy], the progress is disappointing.  What we need to do, right now, is to speed up the journey for everyone by fully reopening the economy, and executing an ambitious and sound trade policy.  If the Biden Administration wants a worker-centered trade policy, then the logical—and only sensible course—is to adopt a trade policy that creates as many high paying jobs as possible.”  

Video of Senator Crapo’s opening statement can be accessed by clicking HERE or the image above. 

On enforcement: 

“We must make sure American farmers get the access to our trading partners to which they are entitled. 

“Mexico is adopting a host of measures that undermine our agricultural rights, including restrictions on biotech crops, glyphosate, and unreasonable food packaging labels.  

“Ambassador Tai, I encourage you to press for action on these barriers at the meeting of the USMCA Free Trade Commission later this month.  If our partners should refuse, you must use the enforcement tools at your disposal.  

On market access: 

“I encourage you to work the United Kingdom—one of the United States’ oldest allies—and with Kenya, which can serve as a replicable model for future trade deals in a country where China has failed to get an FTA, and that will also establish our commitment to the people of Africa. 

“We must start thinking about how to modernize TPP, or what other structures we can use for U.S. engagement in the Asia-Pacific.  We cannot simply take a ‘timeout’ from the region.” 

On consulting with Congress: 

“The WTO TRIPS Agreement was approved by Congress.  The law says Congress’s approval can only be withdrawn ‘if, and only if’ Congress enacts a joint resolution to that effect.  Last summer, during the height of the pandemic, both Houses of Congress declined to act on such a resolution. 

“Yet, without any consultation with this Committee, you announced via a tweet that the Administration unilaterally supports waiving the patent obligations of the TRIPS Agreement.    

To read Ranking Member Crapo’s full remarks at today’s hearing, click HERE