Issue Position: Trade
I have long believed that when instituted correctly and fairly, trade agreements open up new markets to U.S. goods, create opportunities for American companies and their employees, and lift the standard of living for people in the country with whom we are trading. If the United States is going to compete in the 21 st century global economy, we cannot shy away from opportunities to guide and expand global trade.
Although trade agreements may potentially bring numerous benefits to our country and economy, I believe any broad agreement must be closely examined. I look specifically for provisions that would have negative consequences for commerce and industry in western Wisconsin, particularly our small businesses and family farmers.
That is why I opposed the Central American Free Trade Agreement and Oman Free Trade Agreement. Both of these deals represented a step backwards. I believed they would harm workers and the environment in those partnering countries, and they would not have been good for hardworking American families.
By contrast, t he Peru trade agreement, H.R. 3688, recently approved by the House of Representatives for the first time enacts strong and enforceable labor and environmental standards - long-standing Democratic demands. The Peru agreement establishes a new template for any future trade agreements. As a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, which is responsible for overseeing trade agreements, I was proud to support this important step forward.
Right now, 98 percent of Peru's exports come to the U.S. duty-free, while many U.S. exports to Peru are met with tariffs as high as 30 percent. By eliminating Peruvian tariffs on our exports, the agreement makes our trade with Peru fairer and offers tremendous opportunities for Wisconsin's businesses and farmers. It is estimated that this agreement will increase U.S. exports to Peru by 25 percent.