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house Bill H.R. 644

If TPP and Other Trade Agreements Pass, Does the U.S. Need a Plan for Enforcing the Rules?

Argument in favor

Trade agreements need strong enforcement provisions to keep other countries from breaking the rules of the deal. These will help protect American workers from unscrupulous competition.

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10/07/2015
"Wall Street and big corporations just won a big victory. Now it's on us to stop the TPP from becoming law. StopTPP." [twitter.com]
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BarackObama's Opinion
···
10/07/2015
"With the TPP, we can rewrite the rules of trade to benefit America’s middle class. Because if we don’t, competitors who don’t share our values, like China, will step in to fill that void."[whitehouse.gov]
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Denny's Opinion
···
02/11/2016
We need a check in place. This was always gonna pass, the precedent was set by Clinton. So this was so close to nafta that the lobby for TPP was probably so overwhelming that it crushed any opposition. So now we deal with what we have, thus this is needed for the US worker. Otherwise we may be at a further trade deficit. TPP is "a better " deal for our country, we shall see. I doubt it though. I read some of this bill and it looks as though TPP is a regurgitation of NAFTA, with a slice of turd sandwich.
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Argument opposed

Politicians should be more worried about how many jobs the U.S. is going to lose with these trade agreements than how they can keep other countries from finding clever ways to dodge the trade rules.

DonaldTrump's Opinion
···
10/06/2015
"The only entities to benefit from this trade deal will be other countries, particularly China and Japan, and big corporations in America.” [breitbart.com]
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ElizabethWarren's Opinion
···
10/07/2015
“We’re being asked to grease the skids for a deal that’s basically done but is being held in secret until after this vote.” [washingtonpost.com]
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MartinOMalley's Opinion
···
10/07/2015
"Yeah, I do oppose it. What's wrong with it is first and foremost that we're not allowed to read it before representatives vote on it. What's wrong with it is that right now what we should be doing are things that make our economy stronger here at home. And that's my concern, that the Trans-Pacific Partnership, this deal, is a race to the bottom, a chasing of lower wages abroad. And I believe that that does nothing to help us build a stronger economy here at home." [politifact.com]
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What is House Bill H.R. 644?

This used to be the "Fighting Hunger Incentive Tax Act", introduced in the House to create a permanent tax deduction for companies who make donations to nonprofits that work on reducing hunger. The bill made it through committee, and passed the House in a 279 - 137 vote — and then was brought to the Senate where it was co-opted as the legislative vehicle for something completely unrelated. Through the Senate amendment process, this bill is now the "Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015," (related to H.R. 1907), providing authority to enforce trade agreements.

In its current form, this bill aims to ensure that U.S. officials have the authority to enforce trade agreements with other countries. The bill passed the Senate in May 2015 on a 78 - 20 vote, and is now waiting for a House vote to resolve the differences. 

This bill would create guidelines for how to enforce free trade agreements addressing health and safety regulations, intellectual property rights, and not letting other countries get away with shirking antidumping and countervailing duty orders . (Antidumping laws prevent foreign competitors from flooding the market with underpriced goods. Countervailing duty orders are basically fees that cancel out an imported good that was subsidized by a foreign government.)

Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would be directed to train their officers on how to enforce trade agreements. These agencies would send an annual strategic plan to Congress on trade facilitation and enforcement. When creating the plan, they would be able to ask advice from federal agencies, international organizations, and private sector organizations in developing the strategic plan.

Protocols would be created and taught to CPB personnel for detecting the infringement of intellectual property on cargo imported into the U.S.

There are also a number of miscellaneous provisions in this bill, like: An import broker who is found guilty of conspiring to or committing an act of terrorism would lose their license (among other things, we're sure). 

Also, a loophole allowing the U.S. to accept imports from other countries that were clearly created with forced or indentured labor would be closed. Basically, no more goods from other countries created with labor that doesn't meet human rights standards. 

The importance of the U.S.-Israel trade relationship would also be emphasized, and the U.S. would discourage foreign countries from boycotting, divesting, or sanctioning Israel. The President would be required to report instances of politically-motivated instances of these actions to Congress.

Impact

U.S. workers, their employers, all businesses and organizations importing goods into the U.S., CBP, ICE, DHS, other related federal agencies.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 644

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: The intent of this legislation was summed up by one of its cosponsors, Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA), who said: 

"If foreign actors choose to violate our trade laws, we must ensure they face serious consequences."

Other provisions of this bill include:

A Trade Remedy Law Enforcement Division would be created in the CBP’s to focus on preventing and investigating trade remedy evasion and coordinate with CBP and ICE on those issues. Trade remedies are laws used by the U.S. and its trading partners to lessen the negative impact of trade agreements on the U.S. labor force. This division would also enforce antidumping laws and countervailing duty orders.

It would provide federal agencies the ability to participate in the International Trade Data System (ITDS) that could be used in monitoring trade data and flows of cargo, in addition to authorizing the release of cargo based on a given agency’s verification.

Customs and Border Patrol would get a new task force known as the "Commercial Targeting Division" to come up with ways to analyze data related to Primary Trade Issues (PTIs). This would include an alert system to ensure safety when inspecting or transporting cargo, and preventing smuggling.


Media:


Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: Flickr user Tristan Taussac)

AKA

Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015

Official Title

An act to reauthorize trade facilitation and trade enforcement functions and activities, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • EnactedFebruary 24th, 2016
    The President signed this bill into law
  • The senate Passed February 11th, 2016
    Roll Call Vote 75 Yea / 20 Nay
  • The house Passed December 11th, 2015
    Roll Call Vote 256 Yea / 158 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Ways and Means
    IntroducedFebruary 2nd, 2015

Log in or create an account to see how your Reps voted!
    "Wall Street and big corporations just won a big victory. Now it's on us to stop the TPP from becoming law. StopTPP." [twitter.com]
    Like (117)
    Follow
    Share
    "The only entities to benefit from this trade deal will be other countries, particularly China and Japan, and big corporations in America.” [breitbart.com]
    Like (59)
    Follow
    Share
    “We’re being asked to grease the skids for a deal that’s basically done but is being held in secret until after this vote.” [washingtonpost.com]
    Like (34)
    Follow
    Share
    "With the TPP, we can rewrite the rules of trade to benefit America’s middle class. Because if we don’t, competitors who don’t share our values, like China, will step in to fill that void."[whitehouse.gov]
    Like (30)
    Follow
    Share
    "Yeah, I do oppose it. What's wrong with it is first and foremost that we're not allowed to read it before representatives vote on it. What's wrong with it is that right now what we should be doing are things that make our economy stronger here at home. And that's my concern, that the Trans-Pacific Partnership, this deal, is a race to the bottom, a chasing of lower wages abroad. And I believe that that does nothing to help us build a stronger economy here at home." [politifact.com]
    Like (14)
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    Share
    You people are disgusting! Do you all realize how the TPP would also affect YOU?! I can only imagine the answer is no. Otherwise, you all would have voted against fast tracking the TPP!!!
    Like (5)
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    and give corporations another avenue to avoid taxes? I think not.
    Like (4)
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    Why do corporations need a financial incentive to be charitable? Do it because it's the right thing to do, not because you get yet another kickback from the government.
    Like (2)
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    All laws must be enforced.
    Like (2)
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    We need a check in place. This was always gonna pass, the precedent was set by Clinton. So this was so close to nafta that the lobby for TPP was probably so overwhelming that it crushed any opposition. So now we deal with what we have, thus this is needed for the US worker. Otherwise we may be at a further trade deficit. TPP is "a better " deal for our country, we shall see. I doubt it though. I read some of this bill and it looks as though TPP is a regurgitation of NAFTA, with a slice of turd sandwich.
    Like (2)
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    There should NEVER be trade agreements that harm U.S. citizen workers! Thus, this plan must be made unnecessary.
    Like (2)
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    We have enough federal debt. Private citizens donate without expecting any remuneration. Why should corporations get a special benefit? Giving should be from the heart, and should not be for personal gain.
    Like (1)
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    If laws are going to be passed, there should be a means to enforce them.
    Like (1)
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    The TPP hurts the people of this country and most importantly our planet. A vote for the TPP is a vote against humanity.
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    Only becase you want to support BO.
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    Trump is a awful human
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    No
    Like (1)
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    The TPP is an easy way for large international corporations and those in the financial industry to worm their way into the legal use of child labor and sending US jobs overseas.
    Like (1)
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    I don't support the TPP but if it does pass this would give us an opportunity to regulate or tweak some of its provisions.
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    We shouldn't be taken advantage of
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