Are We Falling Behind on Trade?
An Address by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
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On July 1, a free trade agreement (FTA) between the European Union and South Korea takes effect. An agreement between Colombia and Canada is expected to enter into force this summer. Both potentially put US exporters at a trade disadvantage. Republican members of Congress are pressing for congressional consideration of FTAs with South Korea, Panama, and Colombia this summer, but the Obama administration has not yet submitted the agreements to Congress. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, will speak at AEI to explain the dynamics surrounding the pending FTAs and Trade Adjustment Assistance.

Following Senator Hatch's remarks, two leading authorities on the Trade Adjustment Assistance program will debate the merit of separate government aid for workers deemed to be displaced by trade--a topic that will remain highly controversial even if congressional leaders and President Obama come to an agreement on renewing Trade Adjustment Assistance.
Agenda
11:30 AM
Registration and Luncheon

12:00 PM
Introduction:
ARTHUR C. BROOKS, AEI

Speaker:
SENATOR ORRIN HATCH (R-UT), US Senate

Panelists:
SALLIE JAMES, Cato Institute
HOWARD ROSEN, Peterson Institute for International Economics

Moderator:
CLAUDE BARFIELD, AEI

Question and Answer

1:30 PM
Adjournment
Event Summary

WASHINGTON, JUNE 30, 2011--Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) argued to a packed room Thursday at AEI that the mock markup of three pending free trade agreements later in the afternoon in the Senate Finance Committee was a "crass" political move pushed primarily by the Obama administration. Senator Hatch, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, expressed his support for the agreements, arguing that the Colombia, Panama, and South Korea free trade agreements "promise nothing but economic growth, more jobs, and deepening friendship with our special allies." Senator Hatch went on to criticize the Obama administration for delaying passage of the free trade agreements for several years and now tying passage to the continuance of Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), a program that provides federal aid to workers displaced by foreign competition. Senator Hatch described the program as an unnecessary and unfair spending proposal, a "poison pill that will not be swallowed," and advocated that the free trade agreements and TAA funding have separate up or down votes. In the panel discussion that followed, Howard Rosen, the executive director of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Coalition, commented on the recent deal struck between Republican members of Congress and the Obama administration. Rosen said it was fortunate that TAA dodged a bullet, but lamented that the problem had just been delayed because TAA funding would need to be approved again in two years. Sallie James of the Cato Institute argued against continued federal funding for TAA. She said the program was essentially a payoff to workers who have enjoyed higher wages in the past only because of their success at lobbying the government for protectionist measures--policies that damaged consumers by forcing them to pay higher prices for goods.

--STEVEN PAGE

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Speaker Biographies

Arthur C. Brooks is the president of AEI. Until January 1, 2009, he was the Louis A. Bantle Professor of Business and Government Policy at Syracuse University. He is the author of eight books and many articles on topics ranging from the economics of the arts to applied mathematics. His most recent books include The Battle: How the Fight Between Free Enterprise and Big Government Will Shape America's Future (Basic Books, 2010), Gross National Happiness (Basic Books, 2008), Social Entrepreneurship (Prentice Hall, 2008), and Who Really Cares (Basic Books, 2006). Before pursuing his work in public policy, Mr. Brooks spent twelve years as a professional French hornist with the City Orchestra of Barcelona and other ensembles.

Senator Orrin Hatch is the senior senator from Utah. He is now in his sixth term, having first been elected to the US Senate in 1976. He currently serves as the ranking Republican on the Senate Committee on Finance, the committee that, among its many responsibilities, oversees international trade agreements. Senator Hatch is also a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions and the Joint Committee on Taxation. He has the honor of serving on the board of directors for the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.

Sallie James
is a policy analyst with the Cato Institute's Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies. She writes and speaks on various trade topics, with a research emphasis on agricultural trade policy. Before joining Cato in 2006, Ms. James was an executive officer in the Office of Trade Negotiations in the Australian government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, working on industrial market access negotiations. Her articles have been published in the San Francisco Chronicle, the Orange County Register, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and other American newspapers, as well as the Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics and the European Review of Agricultural Economics. Ms. James has appeared on BBC World, CNBC, MSNBC, CNN, Fox News Channel, Bloomberg TV, NPR, and other TV and radio outlets.

Howard Rosen is a resident visiting fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, where he is developing detailed proposals for reforming US labor-market adjustment programs. He is also executive director of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Coalition, which he established to advocate on behalf of workers and communities experiencing dislocations due to changes in international trade and investment. In 2001, Mr. Rosen drafted provisions in the Trade Act of 2002 that significantly reformed and expanded the US Trade Adjustment Assistance program. Between 1997 and 2001, he was minority staff director of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee. Mr. Rosen has consulted for the World Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Senate Committee on Finance, the Inter-American Development Bank, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, and the Business Roundtable.

Claude Barfield is a resident scholar at AEI. He is the author or editor of numerous books on trade and science policy, including Free Trade, Sovereignty, Democracy: The Future of the World Trade Organization (AEI Press, 2001). He also coauthored Tiger by the Tail: China and the World Trade Organization (AEI Press, 1999, with Mark Groombridge). Mr. Barfield is working with Andrei Zlate on the forthcoming AEI Press book The Eagle and the Dragon: The United States, China, and the Rise of Asian Regionalism. Before joining AEI, he served in the Gerald R. Ford administration on the staff of the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs and as a costaff director of the President's Commission for a National Agenda for the Eighties.

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