U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk: Strengthening Trade Enforcement

We will take new steps to protect the rights of American farmers and small business owners. We will hold our trading partners to their word on labor standards. And we will use work we’re already doing to fight even harder for the men and women who fuel our economy and support their families.

The Office of the United States Trade Representative is strengthening trade enforcement efforts because we will do everything we can to support those jobs and the workers who hold them.

Just enforcing the rules on the books can win our workers and companies the benefits of trading as fully, fairly, and freely as our agreements allow.

Our new approach to enforcement is simple. We will deploy our resources more effectively to identify and solve problems at the source. But make no mistake: we will pursue legal remedies when other options are closed.

First, we will build on what works. One of the best ways we guarantee America’s trade rights is by consistently monitoring our partners’ trade practices. If they know we are holding a magnifying glass up to their actions, they’ll be less likely to break the rules. So, we will use that magnifying glass on behalf of more American businesses.

Two new, innovative tools will provide strong support for U.S. farmers, ranchers, and industry.

The first new tool sanitary and phytosanitary barriers, like the restrictive regulations some countries slapped on American pork because of the H1N1 flu scare. And we must address them across the board, as well as on a case by case basis. This will ensure our agricultural producers see their rights restored abroad, and their businesses saved here at home.

The second new tool will take on technical barriers to trade, such as technical regulations and standards that restrict U.S. exports of safe, high quality products. Now, we will seek out these barriers and tackle them head-on.

Next, we will work to better enforce America’s rights around the world. The trade reports that go to Congress will be more than paperwork. We will use them in new ways to spur real actions with real impact for American workers and businesses.

Finally, we will hold our trading partners to their commitments on workers’ rights.

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