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Opening Statement of Ambassador Lighthizer to the House Ways and Means Committee

June 17, 2020

Washington, DC –  United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer appeared today before the House Ways and Means Committee to discuss the President’s 2020 Trade Policy Agenda.  Ambassador Lighthizer’s opening remarks follow:

We’ve been going through two crises.  These are indeed challenging times.  I thought of many of you often during these crises.  I’m confident that if we work together in good faith, as we have in the past, we will get through these problems, heal and move forward.  Hopefully, things will be even better than they were before.  In some ways these problems make talking about international trade seem less important.  But in other ways perhaps rebuilding our economy, helping to create good paying jobs for all Americans, securing fairness for our businesses and bringing back manufacturing can be part of the solution to bringing us all together as one great country again.  

We have been isolated and quarantined so long that I fear we might forget the great achievement of the last few months.  Together Republicans and Democrats, House and Senate, worked closely with the Administration to write and pass the biggest – and I would say best – trade agreement in American history, USMCA.  We should not forget how important that was for our country and for our workers and businesses and ranchers and farmers.  I’d like to again thank all of you for working with me on that.  Together we had an historic accomplishment.

I would also like to thank you for your support and help as we worked our way through the China Phase One Agreement -- the Congress had an important role in that – a very important US-Japan Agreement, and numerous smaller trade achievements during the last year.  Together I think we have helped our workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses.  
Going forward there is much to achieve.  As we all know, we have active negotiations ongoing with the United Kingdom.  We will very soon commence negotiations with Kenya.  Finally, we have active engagements on trade with numerous other countries and, of course, I look forward to working with Members on the crucial issue of the WTO.  

Thank you to all Members for working so closely with me, for making time to talk to me and to meet with me, for having your staffs work so closely with USTR, and for making our end product consistently better than it would have been without your involvement.

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