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Public Statements

Extending Certain Trade Programs

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. DREIER. Mr. Speaker, many of us have enjoyed saying over the past several years that if we don't shape the global economy, we will be shaped by it. And we also have, as we all know, so much attention focused on divisions that exist in this institution. We know that the media like to cover pictures, mistakes and conflict. And, obviously, conflict here is something that the media like to focus attention on.

Well, here we are, Democrats and Republicans, coming together under the great leadership of my friend Dave Camp, the chairman of the Ways and Mean Committee, we have the ranking member of the Trade Subcommittee, Mr. Brady, was here earlier, the chairman of the Trade Subcommittee, working to focus on this notion of our shaping the global economy.

As I look over and see my friend from New York, Mr. Rangel, I'm reminded of December 1999. He and I were with President Clinton in Seattle, Washington, at the ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization. You know, that meeting itself turned out to be an abject failure. The meeting itself was an abject failure.

In fact, I'll never forget, the week after that ministerial meeting in 1999, the cover of the Economist magazine said: ``Who Lost in Seattle?'' And the photograph was a starving baby in Bangladesh.

But the good thing that did emerge from that meeting in Seattle that we attended back in 1999 was the fact that we were vigorously pursuing the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act; and we had laid the groundwork, again, working in a bipartisan way, to say that pursuing trade, not aid, was the best thing for everyone.

Now, Mr. Camp was testifying before the Rules Committee the other day, and we were talking about this issue of a zero sum game when it comes to taxes. We also have to recognize, when it comes to the issue of trade, it is not a zero sum game. It is a win-win for us if you look at all of the issues covered in this measure--whether it's the African Growth and Opportunity Act, whether it's focusing on our great friends to the south, the Central American countries and the Dominican Republic, whether it's looking at the area where I'm going to be next week.

Next week, I'm headed to Burma, and I'm so enthused about the changes that are taking place. We need to encourage that, and I believe that the actions we are taking here can play a role in continuing to encourage the positive reforms that we are seeing take place in Burma. We're not there yet--that's why we need to take this action--but we are moving in the right direction.

My fellow Californian Mr. Royce mentioned South Sudan--the newest country in the world. Last month, I was there when they marked their first anniversary of existence. This is a country that is seeking to get its sea legs. I was pleased to be there with my colleague Mr. Price, who cochairs our House Democracy Partnership. We are looking at the idea of possibly putting together a partnership between this new parliament, with a very impressive speaker, in South Sudan and the United States House of Representatives. The idea of incorporating South Sudan as part of the African Growth and Opportunity Act is again an indication that we very much want to strengthen ties with new and reemerging democracies around the world, not just politically but commercially as well.

Mr. Speaker, I strongly support this effort, and I congratulate my friends on both sides of the aisle who are making it happen. I especially express appreciation to my very, very good friend Mr. Camp, who has championed this and so many other important issues. He and I will be together again this afternoon when we get to, I hope, put together a strong bipartisan effort to implement the notion of bringing about real meaningful tax reform.

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