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 “Advancing Congress’s Trade Agenda, The Role of Trade Negotiating Authority.”

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

“Thank you Mr. Chairman for holding this important hearing today.

“I’m sure just about everyone here will agree that the biggest challenge facing our nation and therefore the Congress and the Administration is the need to create good paying jobs here in America that can support our ongoing economic recovery.

“That critical need to create jobs and help our economy is why I welcomed the introduction of the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014 (TPA) last week.  I believe this bipartisan, bicameral legislation will do a great deal to modernize the process for trade negotiations.

“At a time when we’re looking for every way possible to strengthen our economy and create good American jobs, the need for TPA is a no brainer.

“Renewing TPA, which expired in 2007, reforms our current process to make it more effective, improve transparency, and provide Congress with enhanced oversight of the Administration’s trade negotiation efforts.

“One of the most urgent needs for enacting this legislation is to create a path forward on ambitious trade agreements that represent enormous opportunity, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Adopting these trade agreements would help bolster our relationship with some of the fastest growing economies in the world.

“These two agreements have significant potential to open markets with nearly one billion consumers, covering nearly two-thirds of global Gross Domestic Product.

“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.

“The goal is to reach a high-standard 21st century trade agreement that addresses emerging trade issues, while also addressing tariff and non-tariff barriers that some other countries erect to keep American goods and services out of their markets.

“If agreed to, the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014 would provide the U.S. with the opportunity to seek commitments to address new or expanded issues, such as unfair regulatory barriers and state-owned enterprises that confront American companies seeking to do business in other countries.

“In a global economy the United States should seek to establish high-standard symbiotic trade relationships with every corner of the world. The markets I named are just a few of the strong examples of huge growth opportunities that exist for American trade, but there are others.

“Increased international trade represents significant potential for U.S. manufacturers, farmers and service providers, which is important, but we must tread carefully to ensure we truly achieve the high-standard agreement that will maximize opportunities for creating and preserving jobs in America, while minimizing the potential loss of American jobs.  

“That’s why I was heartened to see that Chairman Baucus and Ranking Member Hatch worked to include enforceable labor and environment standards, language to address continued concerns with currency manipulation and updated protections for intellectual property reflective of an evolving marketplace.

“I believe that the Trade Priorities Act introduced by Chairman Baucus, Ranking Member Hatch and Chairman Camp last week is a positive step forward and an important tool to ensure that we continue to seek the high standard agreements that will benefit our economy and our workers.  That being said, I recognize that there may be some areas that can be enhanced as we move through the legislative process. As I always like to say, ‘if it isn’t perfect, make it better’ and there will certainly be ample opportunities to continue to make this good legislation even better as we move forward.

“That’s why I will continue to work closely with my colleagues and the Administration to ensure that we move to mark-up quickly and take an important step toward enacting this important legislation.”