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Withdrawing Approval of the United States from Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the gentleman for yielding me time.

Mr. Speaker, this is a good debate. It is a good, healthy debate that we are having here on the floor of Congress.

The earlier speaker, the gentleman from Ohio, cited some papal encyclicals, but, as a practicing Catholic, I will be the first to defend his right to do that here on the floor, but I also think there are some bigger issues we need to talk about.

First of all, how do we keep jobs in America? We all care about that. This is what we are talking about. I would argue we have got to do basically two things: stop pushing jobs overseas and stop countries from unfairly taking jobs overseas.

How do we stop pushing jobs overseas? Well, for starters, we can address health care costs. We can address the fact that we tax our businesses and our jobs more than any other country in the world, save Japan. We can address tort costs, regulatory costs, have a comprehensive energy policy to make energy more affordable.

How do we stop countries from unfairly taking jobs overseas? We have to remember, Mr. Speaker, that 97 percent of the world's consumers are not in this country. They are outside of this country. One in five manufacturing jobs are tied to exports. Exports, on average, pay more than other jobs. We cannot put our head in the sand. Pulling out of the WTO is the economic equivalent of throwing the baby out with the bath water.

What has happened since we have gone into the WTO? Let us look at the challenges that confront us.

We talk about China, a very appropriate topic to discuss here. Since China joined the WTO, do my colleagues know how many laws we had to change and pass in America to go there? Zero. Do my colleagues know how many laws China had to change, laws and regulations, to enter the WTO? 1,100. To get into the WTO, to join countries of fair trade, China had to change 1,100 laws. Are they following all these rules and agreements? Of course not. But because they are in the WTO, because we have the WTO, we finally have a forum, a mechanism, a system to bring these countries into compliance to play by the rules. If we did not have this system, all these countries could play by whatever rules they set.

We are the economic superpower of the world. We play by the rules. We are the most transparent, most honest, most basic system in the world. We need other countries to play by the same rules, too, so we can all join together in growing economic growth here in America and across the world. Pulling out of the WTO would be the economic equivalent of biting off our nose to spite our face.

Since we have had China in the WTO, I have been critical of the administration's stance in its first 3 years. I have joined with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle criticizing the administration on their China policy. However, over the past year and a half, the administration, through the WTO rules, has brought 12 different actions against China.

We are making success. We are bringing accountability. Pull out now, and the situation gets much worse. Stay in it. Fight for fair trade. We can clean up these rules, and that is the only way to bring other nations into the fair trade arena.


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