Carper to Chair International Trade Panel

Chairman Carper to focus on Delaware priorities and environmental trade issues 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) was named Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee’s International Trade, Customs, and Global Competitiveness Subcommittee for the 117th Congress. Carper has served on the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees all trade agreements and trade legislation, since 2009. 

Earlier this month, Carper was named Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and he remains a senior member of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee (HSGAC).

“As a recovering Governor and now Chairman of this important subcommittee, one of my top priorities is continuing to help create a nurturing environment for job creation and job preservation. In Delaware, and around the country, we know that one of the keys to doing that is to ensure that our small businesses, manufacturers, and farmers can compete and win in the global economy,” said Chairman Carper. “In Delaware, we want to find ways to make sure that our chickens and other agricultural products, innovative services, and other goods can reach markets around the world. By doing so, we help to fuel our regional and national economy, while also creating and sustaining good-paying American jobs. The Port of Wilmington, for instance, supports nearly 20,000 jobs in our region and fuels hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity each year.

“Especially as the world grapples with the economic challenges brought on by an unprecedented pandemic, it’s more important now than ever that we work to advance a trade agenda that uplifts American workers, spurs domestic manufacturing, and improves labor standards throughout the world. As Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, I will also work hard in this role to ensure our future trade policies include strong and enforceable environmental safeguards to help drive climate progress. After all, environmental protections should not just be words on a piece of paper, but policies that can actually be put into practice. Last Congress, I was proud to help secure historically strong provisions in the new North American Free Trade Agreement, also called the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), that will help ensure that alleged environmental violations will be investigated and remedied in a timely manner. Future agreements must build on the progress we made in USMCA, which has the strongest environmental enforcement rules of any trade deal to date.

“But to accomplish these goals, we need strategic and thoughtful trade policies, unlike the chaotic approach of the past four years. For too long, consumers, small business owners, retailers, manufacturers and farmers have been left hanging in the balance, and feeling the all too real consequences of senseless trade wars. In the Senate Finance Committee, we must help provide certainty and predictability for American businesses and workers by ensuring that there are clear and fair rules of the road for trade. I look forward to working with my new wingman on this subcommittee, Senator John Cornyn, and serving as a partner in the Biden Administration’s efforts to rebuild relationships with our trading partners and craft new trade agreements that put Delaware families first.”

In the last Congress, Senator Carper helped to ensure that the new treaty to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), known as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), had the strongest environmental provisions in any trade agreement we’ve seen to date. Under the previous NAFTA, non-governmental organizations and individuals in NAFTA countries could submit allegations of environmental violations to the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC). Critics pointed out that, under the previous system, the production of a factual record is disconnected from any real threat of a meaningful enforcement action. Under USMCA’s newly created enforcement mechanism spearheaded by Senator Carper and Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), when the CEC produces a factual record, the new Interagency Environment Committee – headed by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) – must review the factual record and make a determination within 30 days as to whether environmental enforcement actions under USMCA will be pursued. If the Committee decides not to pursue enforcement actions, it must notify Congress within 30 days of its decision and provide Congress with a written justification for that decision.