VIDEO: Sen. Moran Speaks on the Senate Floor on the Importance of Trade for the U.S. Economy and Defense
Moran: Trade Advances Our Interests and Those of Our Partners
May 12 2023
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (Kan.) spoke on the Senate floor this week about the importance of trade to the U.S. economy and national security and called on President Biden to enter into – and Congress to ratify – the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
“America’s economy is the foundation of our power. Without the creation of wealth, we cannot afford to sustain the world’s greatest military, which in turn defends the peace that enables the flow of goods,” said Sen. Moran. “In competing with China in the coming decades, it is essential that the United States provides a positive vision for the region that attracts countries to what America offers beyond security support. Leadership is more than making clear what we’re against: we must offer a compelling case of what we’re for and how it will benefit those we wish to lead. Little in geopolitics is a win-win, but trade is the rare area that advances our interests and those of our partners.”
Click HERE to Watch Sen. Moran’s Full Remarks
Sen. Moran’s Full Remarks as Prepared for Delivery:
“Here in the early months of this new Congress, I note the broad bipartisan agreement on the importance of the Indo-Pacific region to our country’s future. We are strengthening our military posture in the region, and last Congress we passed legislation to strengthen our strategic industries.
“What is being ignored, however, is a third component essential to our success in the region: expanding trade.
“At an SFOPS [State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs] hearing in March, I noted the importance of our economic relationships around the world and asked Secretary of State Blinken about our approach to trade agreements, particularly America’s absence from the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership, the CPTPP.
“He told me the original pact in 2015 had real benefits, economically and strategically, but since then the world has moved on. I agree with him: our allies and partners have moved on – without us.
“A year ago this month, President Biden made his first visit to Asia and unveiled the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, the administration’s initiative to re-engage the region on standards involving digital trade, supply chains, climate change and corruption.
“This is a small start, and it falls far short of what needs to occur to advance American prosperity and security—and that of our Asian partners. In particular, the President’s proposal fails to include greater U.S. market access. The United States is belatedly offering tepid leadership to a region that remains committed to open trade.
“We can and must correct this or fall further behind in the most economically dynamic region in the world.
“I call on President Biden to enter into – and Congress to ratify – the CPTPP.
“It would be difficult to overstate how important the Indo-Pacific is to American prosperity. The region comprises 40 percent of global economic output and is expected to grow to 50 percent by the end of the decade.
“The largest economy in the region belongs to China, which is the largest trade partner for the region’s countries. This provides Beijing with the leverage to bully our allies and partners into making concessions in exchange for access to the Chinese market.
“China’s dominance of the region would put at risk American liberties and prosperity. It’s reality, not an exaggeration.
“China used coercion to retaliate against Australia after our allies in Canberra called for an investigation into the origins of COVID-19. Beijing regularly forces American businesses to refrain from criticism of China or conform to Communist policies. China’s leaders can coerce and intimidate because of their economic strength.
“It is clear China will exert its tremendous leverage over other nations to achieve its global ambitions. Its attempts to bully countries into its sphere of influence are on full display through the Belt and Road Initiative, which has left a trail of debt traps and human rights abuses.
“Yet the United States is ceding our economic leadership that we have established and maintained for the last 80 years.
“Having quit the Trans-Pacific Partnership under bipartisan criticism, the countries we worked with – treaty allies and partners – moved ahead and in 2018 brought into force a successor agreement, the CPTPP. These countries represent more than 13 percent of global GDP. In the last few weeks, Great Britain has gained membership.
“So important is the CPTPP to the Pacific economies that China applied for membership last September. It would be a grave mistake for us to assume that, in America’s absence, China will be denied membership indefinitely.
“China wants in despite already being the largest member of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Agreement, which also includes our treaty allies Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. This trade bloc accounts for nearly one-third of global GDP.
“These two agreements, comprised of nations with diverse ideologies, underscore the importance of economics to the Indo-Pacific. In Asia especially, economics and security are one and the same, and for Washington to ignore that is a miscalculation.
“Our allies and partners in the region are noticing America’s absence. Australia’s foreign minister, Penny Wong, said at the end of last year, ‘America’s decision not to proceed with CPTPP is still being felt in the region…We have reached a stage in the evolution of our alliances where they will increasingly require a fully developed economic dimension, as well.’
“And at the end of 2022, Singapore’s defense minister had this to say: ‘The U.S. increasing their military presence in Asia as a stabilizing force is virtuous, it is good and we will support that.’
“But he made this key point: ‘We think that the U.S. should do more to engage as it did previously, to build an economic framework, which as a tide can lift all boats.’
“Despite a National Security Strategy which declares ‘we need to win the competition for the 21st century’ and that we will ‘shape the rules of the road for…trade and economics,’ the document makes clear President Biden believes ‘we have to move beyond traditional Free Trade Agreements.’
“But given the words of our Pacific friends, it is equally clear they have not moved beyond such agreements. In fact, they are doubling down on them without us. The President and his Administration are either oblivious to this fact or indifferent as he seeks to satisfy his constituencies. Given the stakes, I’m not sure which is worse.
“Dating back to the 1980s, the National Security Strategy is a Congressionally-mandated report issued by the President to convey the Administration’s national security goals and how to achieve them. In recent decades, one document is published each presidential term rather than yearly.
“The 2022 document President Biden stresses upholding the ‘rules-based international order’ but refuses to engage in shaping one of the significant pillars of that order: trade. The National Security Strategy invokes four principles, two of which are openness and inclusiveness. As one scholar observed, the President’s approach to trade is neither open nor inclusive. This hurts our goals in the region, and it hurts Americans at home indeed, our very national security.
“Economic partnerships like the CPTPP promote U.S. national security interests by protecting access to critical technology, minerals, and food supplies. Robust trade agreements safeguard the intellectual property and manufacturing capabilities that underpins American military dominance.
“Southeast Asia presents a situation in which our agricultural producers can score significant market access wins while U.S. soft power can bolster our influence with these critical partners.
“America’s economy is the foundation of our power. Without the creation of wealth, we cannot afford to sustain the world’s greatest military, which in turn defends the peace that enables the flow of goods. As a column in the Wall Street Journal recently argued, ‘the U.S. must embrace the politics of growth. Our world must be, and must be seen to be, the surest, fastest path to raising living standards all over the world. That’s what we did after World War II. We must find a way to do that again today.’
“We can’t help make the rules that will benefit Americans if we refuse to sit at the table and pretend other options will be convincing just because this White House says so.
“In competing with China in the coming decades, it is essential that the United States provide a positive vision for the region that attracts countries to what America offers beyond security support. Leadership is more than making clear what we’re against: we must offer a compelling case of what we’re for and how it will benefit those we wish to lead.
“Little in geopolitics is a win-win, but trade is the rare area that advances our interests and those of our partners. According to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, three in four Americans think trade is good for the U.S. economy.
“But Congress – and the President – are making a mistake ignoring the old idea of open trade. To best compete with China in Asia and to help Americans at home, joining the CPTPP and providing greater market access is the obvious place to begin.”
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