TRADE LAWS MODIFICATION -- (House of Representatives - December 08, 2006)
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Mr. UDALL of Colorado. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 6406, the Omnibus Trade Act. Overall I believe the bill provides many important benefits for consumers and businesses in the United States.
While Vietnam has not fully evolved into the kind of free society I would like to see, the improvement of relations between the United States and Vietnam is a welcome development. That is why I support the extension of presidential authority to grant permanent normal trade relations with Vietnam. Implementing normal trade relations is an important step toward ensuring that American business and agriculture will be able to benefit from a full and open market--a goal that is enhanced by Vietnam's inclusion into the World Trade Organization (WTO). It will also ensure that Congress and the Bush administration have the ability to enforce important commitments, including intellectual property protections and the elimination of trade distorting subsidies that ultimately do injury to American producers and consumers alike.
I have supported a number of efforts to expand access to foreign markets for exports as part of a long-term strategy to strengthen our domestic economy. While expanding markets for businesses and farmers is critical, it needs to be carefully monitored and responsibly implemented. As structured, I believe the agreement with Vietnam largely meets this test.
With respect to extending trade benefits to Andean countries, I have some concerns with the approach taken in this legislation. It puts important assistance programs at risk and is another example of the current Congressional leadership engaging in partisan political posturing instead of legislating in the very best interests of the American people and the governments and peoples affected by this bill. If the version of the bill is passed into law, I think it likely will be necessary to revisit this issue in the upcoming Congress.
While this bill is largely about the liberalized exchange of goods and services, it is also about building a stronger relationship with countries around the globe. Expanding our commercial relationships can help the United States gain support for initiatives in other areas, such as conflict resolution and reduction of poverty. I urge passage of this legislation.
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