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      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                  Contact:   Julie Cram/Curt Cultice

     April 23, 2002                                                                                               202-482-3809   

 

Under Secretary of Commerce Grant Aldonas Testifies on Bush Trade Priorities

Echoes Call for Senate Passage of Trade Promotion Authority

            Grant Aldonas, Commerce Under Secretary for International Trade, in testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, stressed that passage of the proposed Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) is a critical tool in expanding economic opportunity and creating jobs for Americans.

            “It is difficult to overstate the importance of the Senate’s passage of TPA in securing the benefits of trade for the American public,” Aldonas said. “What TPA represents is a joint commitment by Congress and the President to expand the economic horizons for all Americans.”

            “To seize the opportunities before us in the form of multilateral trade negotiations, the President must have the authority that every one of the past five presidents have had,” Aldonas added.  “It is time to move on TPA. It is time to restore American leadership on trade. It is time we got off the sidelines and back into the game.”

            Aldonas said the Bush Administration will pursue an aggressive trade agenda that will open new markets for America’s products while working to ensure that our trading partners comply with their agreements and that international competition is fair:

            Aldonas said the President’s trade strategy has three components: boosting American exports through ongoing negotiations of the new round of World Trade Organization (WTO) talks launched in DOHA this past year, including completing ongoing negotiations on the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) and with other bilateral trading partners; second, securing implementation of trade agreements already won at the bargaining table through strengthened compliance and export promotion efforts; and third, continuing our vigorous enforcement of  the rules of trade in a way that ensures that international competition is fair.

            “Success in the WTO talks alone could amount to an additional $2500 in annual savings for the typical American family of four,” Aldonas said.  “But we must also work vigorously to keep the bargain on trade with the American people, and to ensure that international competition is fair. The President’s action on steel and lumber reflects that commitment.”

            As further evidence of the Administration’s continuing commitment to trade enforcement, Aldonas noted both his recent tour Asian tour where the central theme was compliance and market access, as well as Secretary Evans current trade mission to China where he is leading a group of U.S. businesses to drive home the importance of timely and transparent implementation of China’s commitments under the WTO.

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