Today, the House passed a package of bipartisan trade legislation that: (1) extends the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) third-country fabric provisions through 2015 and adds South Sudan as an eligible beneficiary country under AGOA; (2) implements non-controversial technical corrections and modifications to the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR); and (3) renews Presidential authority to apply import sanctions against Burma.
This bipartisan legislation passed by voice vote. Additional background on H.R. 5986 is available here.
Chairman Camp said: "This important legislation will strengthen U.S. global competitiveness and trade leadership. Today's vote to extend certain AGOA provisions and add South Sudan as an eligible beneficiary demonstrates the bipartisan dedication of this Congress to sub-Saharan Africa and reaffirms the success of the AGOA program. The technical corrections to CAFTA-DR encourage deeper integration within the region, promote U.S. exports, and support U.S. jobs. These two provisions will strengthen our ties with U.S. trading partners in Africa and the Western Hemisphere and support U.S. jobs and the U.S. economy.
"Today's legislation also extends the President's authority to maintain the import ban on Burmese products for three years and authorizes the actual imposition of import sanctions for one year. I recognize the encouraging developments in Burma over the past months. Nevertheless, in 2003, Congress set out specific goals and benchmarks in the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act, and I encourage the Burmese government to continue to address the concerns that led to the passage of the law. I also urge the Burmese government to vigorously pursue further reforms, economic growth, and peaceful, inclusive governance that benefit all the Burmese people."
Trade Subcommittee Chairman Brady said: "The strong bipartisan vote on H.R. 5986 re-affirms our strong trade and investment ties with sub-Saharan Africa and ensures a better-integrated textile supply chain in the Americas. These actions will support well-paying U.S. jobs. The legislation also reauthorizes the import ban on Burmese products. While I believe the Burmese government has taken sizeable steps forward in recent months, the political and economic reforms taken must continue and intensify to ensure that all citizens of Burma may be free, have a fully democratically-elected government, and enjoy the fruits of broad-based economic growth."