Statements and Speeches

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Finance Committee and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, attended the Senate Finance Committee hearing on “Trade Enforcement: Using Trade Rules to Level the Playing Field for U.S. Companies and Workers.”

A copy of Sen. Carper's opening statement, as prepared for delivery, follows:

“Thank you Mr. Chairman and Ranking Member Hatch for holding this important hearing today. I want to thank all of our witnesses for their testimony today, but I particularly want to recognize Richard Wilkins, here today from the First State, my state, to talk to us about how trade rules affect his soybean business in Greenwood, Delaware.

“The trade policy that we discuss today is critical to our ongoing economic recovery. Congress needs to do our part to help both American workers and businesses – large and small – compete and win in our global economy. In Delaware, international trade supports 120,000 jobs and billions of dollars in exports to 187 countries around the world. Simply put, more consumers of Delaware and U.S. goods and services represent more quality job opportunities here in the U.S.

“No business in Delaware feels the impact of our trade policy more than our farmers, and our chicken farmers especially. I’m glad that the chicken industry has a voice in this discussion today through Kevin Brosch representing the National Chicken Council.

“As I’m sure Mr. Brosch could tell you, chickens outnumber people by 300 to 1 in Delaware.  Seventy percent of our state’s agricultural exports come from the poultry industry. Making sure that chickens grown and produced in our state can continue to be exported to countries around the world is a top priority of mine. The two major trade agreements currently being negotiated, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP), both represent tremendous opportunities to expand agricultural exports, and I hope that encouraging agricultural exports remains a top priority as negotiations continue.

“As we continue to pursue opportunities to encourage trade around the world, we also need to be vigilant in ensuring that our trade partners uphold the rules and regulations of our trade agreements so we can ensure that American goods and services can compete on a level playing field. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has been successful in pursuing several cases with the World Trade Organization where our trading partners weren’t holding up their end of our trade agreements and were unfairly blocking U.S. products, including one in which China was found to be imposing excessive import duties on U.S. chicken broiler parts. But many similar cases before the World Trade Organization remain unresolved, including those involving non-tariff barriers on our broilers in the European Union (EU) and India. As we look to strengthen current trade agreements, and negotiate new agreements, we must be mindful of putting enforcement mechanisms in place to protect our businesses and workers’ ability to compete in a fair market.

“President Obama and Ambassador Froman have indicated the trade agreements we pursue will be high-standard agreements with a 21st century framework.  It is my hope that we can seek high intellectual property standards and strong enforcement mechanisms to fully protect American businesses and workers.

“I look forward to continuing to work with this committee, my colleagues in the House and Senate, and the administration on this important issue of enforcing trade rules and the broader goal of establishing high-standard symbiotic trade relationships with as many countries as possible around the world.”