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News and Press: Policy News

Ensuring Oversight and Transparency on Trade

Tuesday, June 30, 2015   (0 Comments)
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From Midland Daily News
Op-ed by U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar

The trade promotion authority (TPA) legislation recently passed by the House will provide increased congressional oversight and transparency on U.S. trade policy.

I supported the legislation because any agreement negotiated using TPA requires a vote of final approval from Congress before it can become law. What is more, the legislation requires the president’s negotiators to work on more than 150 objectives which must be included in any trade agreement.

American workers are the best and brightest in the world. They win in every market open to them. This increased congressional oversight includes strengthening rules for agriculture, environmental practices, human rights and intellectual property, because our workers deserve a level playing field to compete fairly and with enforceable rules.

Opponents claim that TPA will give the president more authority. This is false. The president already has the power to negotiate trade agreements and submit them for congressional approval at any time. With this legislation, Congress sets priorities for negotiators by providing oversight and objectives for the president to follow.

Finally, TPA requires the president to post the final trade agreement online for 60 days before he can sign it and submit it to Congress. Congress will have the final say over whether any deal the president submits will become law, just as it always has.

Trade has benefited Michigan’s Fourth Congressional District. Products made in Michigan are already winning new customers internationally. For example, the 10,000 farms and 15,000 farm operators in the Fourth District sell approximately $1.7 billion in products across the country and around the world. According to the International Trade Association, 71 percent of Michigan’s exports — nearly $40 billion — went to countries that are a part of the 20 trade agreements the United States has joined. Future trade deals could open new markets for Michigan companies to sell their products to, and create more jobs here in Michigan.

American values and ingenuity are our country’s greatest export and we make the world a better place when we engage with other countries and lead. The president has the opportunity to negotiate a trade deal that will expand American influence and continue our country’s tradition of economic leadership.

Congress will have the final say on any trade deal the president negotiates, and the general public will have the opportunity to see if it benefits the hardworking men and women of Michigan.

If you would like to review the complete text of the legislation that recently passed, you can read it online at Congress.gov.

U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar, R-Midland), represents Michigan’s Fourth Congressional District, which is made up of Clare, Clinton, Gladwin, Gratiot, Isabella, Mecosta, Midland, Missaukee, Ogemaw, Osceola, Roscommon, Shiawassee, and Wexford counties, and parts of Montcalm and Saginaw counties.

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