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house Bill H.R. 7064

Should the U.S. Trade Representative Ensure Trade Deals Have Strong Environmental Protections?

Argument in favor

Environmental protections should be part of free trade agreements in order to ensure that all manufacturers are playing on the same level, and doing their part to protect the environment. At present, environmental protections in free trade agreements are window-dressing with no power.

John's Opinion
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12/28/2018
I prefer to live in a country with clean water and air. Any trade deals with other countries should ensure that they do the same to ensure we’re on a level playing field.
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burrkitty's Opinion
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12/28/2018
Voting with your wallet is the only thing many around the world understand. If we insist on verifiable environmental protection before we buy, the folks that want the business will produce products with verifiable environmental protection.
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Roger's Opinion
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12/28/2018
If we let them, they'll always prioritize the money, so yeah we need to force them to protect the environment to close any trade deal.
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Argument opposed

Global free trade without environmental restrictions is the best way to protect both the environment and those who benefit from free trade. The best way to ensure better environmental protections in the developing world is to increase those countries’ wealth through trade without restrictions.

Leon's Opinion
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12/28/2018
And you can’t guarantee no nukes in Iran... how will this be successful?
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Ed's Opinion
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12/28/2018
I was extremely conflicted in voting no. Much like a lot that has come out of this administration they construct surgically precise titles to bills that upon further examination turn out to be Trojan Horses for the same old tired and insipid MAGA agenda stop trying to gaslight Americans. I fully support environmental protections and conscientious labor practices. However those do not seem to be the true goals of this bill. This is a complex issue the requires a great deal of contextual awareness. There is no one-size fits all mandate that will work. I believe helping the developing world accelerate the growth of their middle class will do more to improve environmental conditions and labor practices than a set of trade fiats
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Bob's Opinion
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12/28/2018
Due to the liberal attitude of allowing illegals into the country with a plan on allowing them to vote in elections is the pinnacle of Socialism.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Rules
      Committee on Ways and Means
    IntroducedOctober 16th, 2018

What is House Bill H.R. 7064?

This bill — the Fair Environmental Trade Agreements Act of 2018 — would require the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to certify that any trade agreements the U.S. enters into with other countries would include strong, enforceable provisions relating to environmental and labor standards. The House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee would receive these certifications from the USTR.

Impact

Global free trade; U.S. trade agreements; House Ways and Means Committee; Senate Finance Committee; and the USTR.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 7064

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) introduced this bill to require the USTR to certify that any trade agreement the U.S. enters into with another country includes strong and enforceable provisions relating to environmental and labor standards:

“It makes no sense that we are buying products, once made in America, from countries that are making these same products more cheaply because they have no environmental or labor standards.  Environmental and labor standards need to be a requirement for every trade agreement that the United States enters into.”

Rep. Coffman argues that this bill is part of ensuring that U.S. manufacturing is on an equal playing field vis-a-vis its international competition:

“The Trump administration is focused on trade deficits in its drive to negotiate new trade agreements, but it should also be making sure that U.S. manufacturing has a level playing field with its overseas competitors when it comes to environmental and labor standards.”

Jim Stanford, an economist and the director of the Centre for Future Work at the Australia Institute, adds that at present, most trade deals’ requirements around environmental policy are merely window dressing:

“Most ‘free trade’ deals… feature token language about protecting labour and environmental standards. These provisions are window-dressing: responding to fears that global competition will spark a downward spiral in social standards. Typically these clauses simply commit signatories to follow their own laws – with no requirement that those laws are decent to start with. Progressive trade deals would have safeguards that are enforceable, including requiring participating jurisdictions to respect universal standards or lose preferential trade rights. Where trade partners have different standards (such as, for example, levying varying degrees of carbon pricing), border adjustments must be permitted so that trade competition does not undermine environmental and social progress.”

The Heritage Foundation’s Ana Eiras and Brett Schaefer argue that free trade without environmental conditions is the best way to protect the environment and those who benefit from global free trade:

“[There is] concern among some Members of Congress that free trade creates a "race to the bottom" in environmental protection. Nothing could be further from the truth. Poor nations cannot afford to value environmental protection more highly than such basic goods as food or health care. If poor nations are to increase environmental protection, they must first increase their wealth. Free trade is a necessary component in catalyzing economic growth. Therefore, free trade is critical in providing the economic means that will enable countries to adopt measures that enhance their protection of the environment…. Even if trade agreements were forged with environmental restrictions … they would be more likely to undermine environmental protection in developing countries rather than promote it. Countries with higher incomes are better able to afford environmental protection. Imposing such standards on poorer nations places them in a Catch-22 between paying for environmental protection or staples like food or health care.”

Of NoteCurrently, the trade promotion authority law’s list of negotiating objectives includes holding trading partners accountable for labor and environmental standards — but it doesn’t require these standards to be part of a trade agreement.


Media:

Sponsoring Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) Press Release

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / MarioGuti)

AKA

Fair Environmental Trade Agreements Act of 2018

Official Title

To require the United States Trade Representative to certify certain trade agreements respecting labor and the environment entered into by the United States, and for other purposes.

    I prefer to live in a country with clean water and air. Any trade deals with other countries should ensure that they do the same to ensure we’re on a level playing field.
    Like (86)
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    And you can’t guarantee no nukes in Iran... how will this be successful?
    Like (19)
    Follow
    Share
    Voting with your wallet is the only thing many around the world understand. If we insist on verifiable environmental protection before we buy, the folks that want the business will produce products with verifiable environmental protection.
    Like (41)
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    Share
    Protect our environment...POTUS won’t😫
    Like (29)
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    If we let them, they'll always prioritize the money, so yeah we need to force them to protect the environment to close any trade deal.
    Like (24)
    Follow
    Share
    I was extremely conflicted in voting no. Much like a lot that has come out of this administration they construct surgically precise titles to bills that upon further examination turn out to be Trojan Horses for the same old tired and insipid MAGA agenda stop trying to gaslight Americans. I fully support environmental protections and conscientious labor practices. However those do not seem to be the true goals of this bill. This is a complex issue the requires a great deal of contextual awareness. There is no one-size fits all mandate that will work. I believe helping the developing world accelerate the growth of their middle class will do more to improve environmental conditions and labor practices than a set of trade fiats
    Like (12)
    Follow
    Share
    As well as strong worker and civil rights protections
    Like (11)
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    H.R. 7064 AKA the Fair Environmental Trade Agreements Act I support and recommend the passage of the House bill H.R. 7064 AKA the Fair Environmental Trade Agreements Act of 2018 — which would require the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to certify that any trade agreements the U.S. enters into with other countries would include strong, enforceable provisions relating to environmental and labor standards. The House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee would receive these certifications from the USTR. Environmental protections should be part of free trade agreements in order to ensure that all manufacturers are playing on the same level, and doing their part to protect the environment. At present, environmental protections in free trade agreements are window-dressing with no power. SneakyPete..... 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻. 12*27*18.....
    Like (9)
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    Yes, that would be appropriate.
    Like (8)
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    Without this the FF industries will nail small countries to dying, massively self destructive sources. Not a help for anyone but oligarchs
    Like (8)
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    I fully support this. And we should start at home. Recently, there was an article in the Wall Street, regarding the Passaic River in NJ. 23 miles of the river is classified as a SuperFund site, due to discharges into the river during the manufacture of Agent Orange. Agent Orange is a defoliant, used in Vietnam. Billions of dollars are needed to clean up the river. I totally disagree with the roll back of environmental safe guards, in this country. So, not only do we need to have enhanced environmental safeguards trade bills, we need to get our own house in order. I see neither happening with the current administration.
    Like (7)
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    Putting profit before the environment is asking for disaster.
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    I really don't understand the reasoning in the Nay argument, there is nothing wrong with protecting the environment.
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    Yes this would be a great idea. Problem is our current government wants to cut enviromental regulations in this country. We're going to put standards on other countries that we ourselves don't adhere to. Good luck at least with the current administration.
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    Trading money for the destruction of the environment is never a good idea. Let’s not vent the oxygen in our spaceship Earth, just because it will give us more money.
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    Our environment should be one of our top priorities. Without a safe environment, houses will be lost, people will get sick, and animals will die. Even if we lose a little money in the process, I think our environment is worth it.
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    Common Sense
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    If we are going to trade freely with other countries without any tariffs, there needs to be specific environmental and labor standards that those countries have which are comparable to ours. Otherwise, these multinational corporations are just going to continue to shift more production overseas to where they can exploit cheap labor and pollute the environment as much as possible.
    Like (5)
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    Due to the liberal attitude of allowing illegals into the country with a plan on allowing them to vote in elections is the pinnacle of Socialism.
    Like (5)
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    This makes sense to me since only money talks, so no verifiable protections, no deals. Underdeveloped countries have a history of exploitation at the expense of the environment and workers.
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