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Statement by Ambassador Ron Kirk Before the House AppropriationsSubcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies

Statement by Ambassador Ron Kirk
United States Trade Representative

Before the House Appropriations
Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
Washington, D.C.
April 5, 2011

*As Prepared for Delivery*

“Chairman Wolf, Ranking Member Fattah, and Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to discuss the President’s budget request for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).

“With 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside our border, increasing exports is critical to putting Americans back to work and the United States back on a path of sustainable, long-term economic growth. With 230 employees and about two dozen detailees, USTR plays a critical role in meeting those goals.

“Over the past two years, this small agency has enforced America’s trading rights, held our trading partners accountable, and negotiated agreements that will expand opportunities for American exporters and their workers. And we’ve accomplished these goals while maintaining strong fiscal discipline that saved or avoided costs of more than 2 million dollars last year alone – a significant sum out of a budget of less than 50 million dollars at that time.

“The smart investment that the President’s FY2012 budget makes in USTR will have significant bang for the buck – even as our work continues to produce results.

“First, we are negotiating high standard, job creating agreements. We negotiated an agreement with Korea that is better for our auto industry and workers and will support at a minimum 70,000 jobs and 10 to 11 billion dollars in additional U.S. goods exports. We have made important progress on negotiations in the nine-country Trans-Pacific Partnership. U.S. leadership has made the TPP the world’s most dynamic regional trade negotiation, key to unlocking the Asia-Pacific region to U.S. business.

“We have also intensified our engagement with Colombia and Panama so that we can resolve outstanding issues and then submit those trade agreements to Congress this year. Colombia represents 1.1 billion dollars in new export opportunities. The Panama agreement will provide access to one of the fastest growing markets in Latin America.

“In the Doha talks, we are seeking an ambitious outcome that provides meaningful market access for all. And we will work with Congress this year to grant Russia Permanent Normal Trade Relations, so that U.S. firms and workers fully benefit when Russia accedes to the WTO.

“Second, we are holding trading partners to their commitments through strong enforcement of our rights. We’ve taken steps to stop China’s use of so-called indigenous innovation; brought the first labor enforcement consultation under a U.S. trade agreement and secured major wins at the WTO for our farmers and ranchers. And just last week, the WTO announced the second in a pair of decisions that constitute the largest win ever at that body, to the benefit of workers in the U.S. aerospace industry.

“Third, we are creating new opportunities to strengthen trade relationships and eliminate barriers to U.S. exports. This includes unexpected barriers to our exports. For example, last year USTR successfully reopened markets in China, Russia, and Indonesia to U.S. pork exports after the H1N1 scare. Those countries were worth 900 million dollars of trade to our pork producers in 2008.

“Through these efforts, we are on pace to achieve the President’s ambitious National Export Initiative goal of doubling exports by the end of 2014, and supporting two million additional jobs at home.

“Our budget provides the necessary resources for USTR to implement a robust trade agenda that boosts American exports, and it does so in a responsible way. The President’s 3.4 million dollar increase for this nimble agency in 2012 can have significant returns for our economy.

“As the President makes prudent investments at USTR, we also call on Congress to make smart investments in America’s workers. Trade Adjustment Assistance helps put Americans back to work and receive new training to prepare for the challenges of the 21st century.

“Our preference programs, the Generalized System of Preferences and the Andean Trade Preferences Act, also merit renewal for as long as possible. Both programs help foster economic growth for the world’s poor and create well-paying American jobs.

“Opening new markets, enforcing our trade rights, and addressing trade barriers in existing markets support businesses and workers in your communities. USTR will continue to use what resources we have as wisely as possible to meet these important goals.

“I look forward to a constructive dialogue today in our shared effort to support jobs and new opportunities for the Americans we serve. Thank you.”