Levin -- Floor Statement on The Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal Act of 2012

Nov 16, 2012

WASHINGTON – Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI) today made the following statement on the House floor in support of the The Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal Act of 2012:

I want to make a number of points, first to join with the Chairman of the Committee. We have worked hard on this on a bipartisan basis, and also with the Senate.

These are the important points. First of all, I urge that we take each trade agreement very much on its own – maybe not completely looking at other agreements, but assessing the merits of this particular agreement. When you look at it on its merit, it's clear I urge we should be supportive. If you look at the flow of trade that will be enhanced by this legislation, it's clear that it will be beneficial to our country. The major imports from our country to Russia are machinery, motor vehicles and aircraft. These are products made in America, by American companies and by American workers. So essentially this will enhance our ability. Russia, in terms of taking this on its own, is already in the WTO and the question is whether we will be able to access their market.

Also there's a question of enforcement. Trade agreements by themselves will not be enough. There has to be built-in strong enforcement and a willingness to enforce. And this agreement, with the help of colleagues -- some of them will be here today -- has strengthened enforcement provisions. And those were worked out with the Senate, and I want to thank the senators for working with us. So there is within this agreement not only a guarantee of more flow, but also a guarantee that we have access to instrumentalities so we can hold Russia's feet to the fire, if I might say so, in terms of their meeting their obligations.

The next point is this. We have been working on trade issues for a long time. For some of us, trade is more than the flow of goods. It's the structure within which the flow occurs, and looking at the benefits of that flow. So that we are sure that the impact is a positive one for our businesses and our workers. Also it's important to remember that the rule of law in another country is vital, otherwise investment is perilous. The Magnitsky Legislation was added here in part in recognition that when you talk about trade, you have to look at a fuller picture. And I want to salute, if I might say so, especially Jim McGovern, for his work on this issue. I also want to thank Mr. Camp, our Chairman. I also want to thank those in the Senate for working with us to make sure that this is in this bill. That the chair of our Foreign Relations Committee, and also especially Mr. Cardin, who once served on our committee and is now in the Senate and has made this a dedicated effort on his part.

This is a bipartisan effort. I hope that it will set the stage for an effort and a successful one to deal with trade issues and beyond on a bipartisan basis.