Rep. Tiberi: Trade Promotion Authority Puts US on ‘Level Playing Field’
Saturday, 06 Jun 2015 09:16 AM
By Sandy Fitzgerald
Trade promotion authority legislation will help give U.S. companies access to billions of new customers and put the nation’s workers “on a level playing field,” Ohio Rep. Pat Tiberi said in Saturday’s weekly GOP address.
“The way things work right now, President [Barack] Obama can negotiate trade agreements on his own and in secret,” said Tiberi, who chairs the House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee, “He doesn’t have to keep you or me informed.”
The bipartisan trade legislation, already approved in the Senate, will allow 60 days for Americans to review proposed trade agreements, which will then be signed upon Congressional approval. Obama supports the legislation, but many in his party oppose it.
“We have much more to do, especially when it comes to helping middle-class workers find good jobs and better pay,” said Tiberi, outlining the many achievements the Republican-led Congress has made this year.
“In an economy where growth is still hard to come by, trade means new markets and new customers,” he said. “Did you know that overall we have a trade surplus with the 20 nations we have a trade agreement with? Or that manufacturing jobs tied to trade pay 16 percent more? Or consider this: between 2004 and 2013, employment in Ohio declined, but trade-related jobs grew by 19 percent.”
The current procedure, Tiberi said, “just doesn’t make sense, and it’s certainly not fair to the American workers.”
Tiberi pointed out that the legislation addresses the issues of transparency, and makes sure that the president follows “dozens of strict objectives in his negotiations so that your priorities come first, not his.”
There are many with doubt about trade and its effect on jobs, but Tiberi said industrial globalization and technology were the real culprits.
“I’ve toured manufacturing companies across my district where 20 years ago, 10 people worked on the shop floor,” he said. ” Now there’s only one worker making the same products.”
He warned that with the United States not taking action, China is “writing the rules of the global economy” through agreements that exclude the United States and undercut its labor standards.
“The world is engaging and trading like never before, and we must pass TPA so we will not be left behind,” he said. “If we pass TPA, we’ll be able to make agreements that give us access to one billion new customers. And our workers will be able to compete for that business on a level playing field, where we know we can outwork anyone.”