Ambassador Kirk announced a number of new trade enforcement measures aimed at saving jobs and creating new jobs in the United States by leveling the global playing field for American workers and businesses this morning in a visit with Pennsylvania Steelworkers. He spoke at U.S. Steel's Mon Valley Works - Edgar Thomson Plant about the Obama Administration's commitment to better enforcement of America's trade rights around the world.
Read excerpts of the speech below...
"I can tell you with no reservations: the Obama Administration is both willing and able to enforce our trade agreements. American workers deserve no less.
Today, on behalf of President Obama, I am here to affirm this administration's commitment to trade enforcement.
I am announcing several concrete new measures that will help to guarantee America's workers, businesses, and families a fair deal.
We will take new steps to protect the rights of American farmers and small business owners. We will hold our trading partners to their word on labor standards. And we will use work we're already doing to fight even harder for the men and women who fuel our economy and support their families.
That's the mission of USTR. We're here to help Americans grow their farms, build their businesses, and support their families through trade.
...The Office of the United States Trade Representative is strengthening trade enforcement efforts because we will do everything we can to support those jobs and the workers who hold them.
President Obama and I believe that on a level playing field, Americans can compete in any sector - from manufacturing to services to agriculture. Just enforcing the rules on the books can win our workers and companies the benefits of trading as fully, fairly, and freely as our agreements allow.
Our new approach to enforcement is simple. We will deploy our resources more effectively to identify and solve problems at the source. But make no mistake: we will pursue legal remedies when other options are closed.
...So, in this administration, we will break down trade barriers that confront American workers and businesses.
First, we will build on what works. One of the best ways we guarantee America's trade rights is by consistently monitoring our partners' trade practices. If they know we are holding a magnifying glass up to their actions, they'll be less likely to break the rules. So, we will use that magnifying glass on behalf of more American businesses.
...We're going to apply the lessons of those successful programs to address other, equally important trade barriers. Two new, innovative tools will provide strong support for U.S. farmers, ranchers, and industry.
The first new tool will confront barriers that other countries raise to prevent our farmers and ranchers from marketing their products abroad. We must more strongly address sanitary and phytosanitary barriers, like the restrictive regulations some countries slapped on American pork because of the H1N1 flu scare. And we must address them across the board, as well as on a case by case basis. This will ensure our agricultural producers see their rights restored abroad, and their businesses saved here at home.
The second new tool will take on one of the biggest obstacles our manufacturers face: technical barriers to trade, such as technical regulations and standards that restrict U.S. exports of safe, high quality products. Now, we will seek out these barriers and tackle them head-on.
Next, we will leverage these new efforts and existing USTR work to better enforce America's rights around the world. The trade reports that go to Congress will be more than paperwork. We will use them in new ways to spur real actions with real impact for American workers and businesses.
...Finally, we will hold our trading partners to their commitments on workers' rights.
...These are the steps that USTR must take, and will take, to save American jobs and make trade work better for America's families.
The high-quality jobs that U.S. exporters can create here at home are our number one priority. Those jobs are the reason that USTR is on the case."
Read the full remarks, as prepared for delivery.