Washington, DC - Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet secured several amendments in the Senate Finance Committee to help strengthen enforcement tools to crack down on currency manipulation and environmental violations by U.S. trading partners.
"If done right, Colorado and our country have a lot to gain from trade agreements that are built to treat workers fairly," Bennet said. "We can make future trade agreements work better for our economy, businesses, and workers if we put a better process in place to set the terms of the negotiations and review of these deals. Our trade agreements need tough enforcement measures to ensure our trading partners are not gaming the system and taking advantage of our workers. The amendments we adopted will improve enforcement throughout our trade laws and ensure our trading partners uphold their commitments, particularly on currency manipulation and crucial environmental protections."
Trade is an important issue for Colorado's economy. Exports are particularly important to Colorado's agricultural sector. For example, Colorado wheat growers export more than 80 percent of what they produce. Beyond agriculture, nearly 6,000 businesses rely on exporting goods and services to foreign markets. Close to 90 percent of those companies are small or mid-sized businesses.
Details on Bennet's Amendments Included in the Bills:
• A bipartisan Bennet-Hatch-Carper amendment to crack down on countries like China that unfairly weaken their currency. The amendment could block a country that illegally manipulates its currency from participating in future trade agreements.
• An amendment to give the United States authority to take all appropriate action, including retaliation to fight back against any of our trading partners' laws, practices, or policies that violate environmental standards in an international trade agreement, or are otherwise unjustified, unreasonable, or discriminatory, or that burden or restrict U.S. commerce.
• An amendment to make poverty a negotiating objective of future trade agreements. The amendment would help to ensure that trade policies contribute to the reduction of poverty and elimination of hunger.
• A bipartisan amendment Bennet introduced with Senator John Thune (R-SD) to encourage other countries to follow the lead of the U.S. by increasing the threshold values for duty-free imports to a commercially meaningful level.
• The Level the Playing Field Act, which Bennet cosponsored. The amendment restores strength to antidumping and countervailing laws that provide relief to businesses and workers in the United States when foreign producers sell goods in the U.S. below market price or receive illegal subsidies.
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