Y’all Politics

Hyde-Smith, colleagues chide Biden admin. for “backseat” stance on U.S. trade agenda

By Anne Summerhays

On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) joined Finance Committee and Agriculture Committee Republicans in signing a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack that outlines their concern over the Biden administration’s approach to trade.

“Advancing U.S. economic interests – particularly in the Indo-Pacific region – requires meaningful and enforceable market access commitments,” the Senators wrote. “We are concerned that the Biden administration is foregoing America’s trade and strategic leadership by failing to pursue such commitments, whether through its Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) or through its decision not to pursue comprehensive free trade agreements, which was reflected in the President’s 2022 Trade Policy Agenda.”

The Senators said that the lack of ambitious market-opening initiatives not only disadvantages U.S. workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses today, it jeopardizes America’s competitiveness, resilience, and security in the long-term.

“Regrettably, U.S. trade leadership has thus far taken a backseat to other priorities under this administration. But, as you know, global trade does not simply pause until the administration deems it worthy of pursuing,” the Senators continued.

The Senators also contrasted the Biden administration’s trade record with China’s aggressive trade agenda.

“The administration’s failure to engage on Trade Promotion Authority or find other avenues to open markets means our workers and producers will continue to lose ground to competitors,” the letter stated. “In contrast, China continues to advance its Belt and Road Initiative; it recently concluded the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the world’s largest free trade agreement; and it now aspires to join the higher quality Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

“We respectfully urge you to include market access and enforceable commitments as part of the IPEF, and any other U.S. trade agreements, and we stand ready to work with you to strengthen American trade leadership,” the Senators concluded.