Sen. Toomey: Administration’s failure to move FTAs forward comes at huge cost to US
During today’s Senate Finance Committee Hearing with U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) questioned the Biden Administration’s inaction on free trade agreements (FTAs) and the implication that FTAs are not a tool for the 21stcentury.
On the importance of free trade agreements:
“Every single presidential administration since Reagan has initiated negotiations on a new [free trade agreement]. They’ve done this to increase market access and to help U.S. industries and workers grow and thrive.
“The U.K., Kenya, Taiwan, Indo-Pacific countries are just a few of the countries that have reached out to us. They want to strengthen their trading relationships. That includes having more market access, and, thus far, we are not taking them up on it.”
On U.S. Trade Representative Tai’s recent implications that FTA isn’t a modern trade tool:
“You may think this is a 20th century tool, [but] it looks like the rest of the world thinks this is a 21stcentury tool.
“This means that China and the European Union are expanding market access for their producers and competition for their consumers. They’re getting market share that we are going to miss out on.”
On the importance of free trade and the “net outcomes” of it:
“The data is very, very clear—there’s all kinds of studies that show that trade agreements lead to more jobs, higher pay, increased economic growth, more options and lower costs for consumers. It’s all kinds of great net outcomes.”
On the cost of inaction on free trade by the Biden Administration:
“Without putting market access on the table, lowering tariffs, and eliminating barriers, we just aren’t’ going to make the progress [America] could be making—that other countries want to make—that [the U.S.] should want to make.”
On history of U.S. negotiating free trade agreements:
“In the 40 years since the U.S. began negotiating our first free trade agreement with Israel, every single U.S. Trade Rep has worked on or completed negotiations of an FTA. My concern is you might be on track to be the first Trade Rep. not to continue that streak, and that would come at a big cost to our country. I just hope that you will be an advocate for this really important tool to expand trade.”