Trade Panel Chair Carper Urges USTR Tai to Advance TPP Principles, Re-engage in Asia-Pacific

Carper: “Why we would walk away from this agreement is beyond me.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs, and Global Competitiveness, today at a Senate Finance Committee hearing with U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai emphasized the need for strategic re-engagement in the Asia-Pacific and the importance of multilateral agreements to help counter China’s rising influence in the region. Senator Carper also asked Ambassador Tai about the possibility of resuming negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).  

“I believe that one of the best ways to counter China’s rise, and their anti-competitive trade practices, is to work together with our allies and trading partners to constructively write, and in some cases re-write, the global rules of trade,” Carper said to Amb. Tai.  “Recently, I led a letter with Senator Cornyn emphasizing the need for strategic engagement in the Asia-Pacific region, similar to what the Trans-Pacific Partnership sought to achieve… In your view, is there a possibility that negotiations can resume on TPP?”

Carper continued, “I will go to my grave wondering why in the world we walked away from a trade agreement that allowed us and 11 other nations in this hemisphere and across the globe who together created about 40 percent of the trade that’s going on on our planet – why we would walk away from this agreement is beyond me. And I’ll continue to raise this issue.” 

Last week, Senator Carper and Senator Cornyn (R-Texas), Ranking Member on the trade subcommittee, sent a letter to USTR Tai calling for the U.S. to re-engage with Asia-Pacific trading partners after the previous Administration’s misguided decision to withdraw from the TPP.

You can watch Senator Carper’s full remarks and questions here.