Steny Hoyer Promotes Trade Pacts in Talk with Manufacturers

By September 10, 2009Trade

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer spoke this a.m. to the National Association of Manufacturers, the NAM’s Public Affairs Steering Committee meeting today at the J.W. Marriott.

His remarks, about 28 minutes worth, were well received: He gave a quick economic overview emphasizing the public’s unease, lauded the President’s speech last night on health care and urged the NAM to work toward health care reform.

The two passages we found notable were his strong endorsement of action on the pending free-trade agreements with Colombia and Panama (Korea’s problematic, he said), and his stressing the need to bring the deficits under control. On trade:

I am very hopeful and I have urged publically some of my friends in my party, in the caucus and around who are somewhat concerned, we ought to pass Colombia and Panama.

Korea is more problematic, mainly because of automobiles and beef. And with beef, you saw the premier tried to solve, the prime minister, tried to solve the beef problem had a very big reaction in his country.

And ….

I’ve told my friends who are not in that place, I said, look, if a manufacturer can make more profit for stockholders, which is their obligation to do, maximize their profits who invested their capital in growing a business, then they’re going to do so.

Just as the shoe manufacturers moved to Massachusetts down to Alabama or South Carolina, or the textile manufacturers moved, people move to where they can best advantage their businesses. You can’t lock people in.

What we can do, however, is to provide for mechanism whereby this international community, this “flat world” that Tom Friedman talks about, we have as level of playing field as we can get. And that means opening up trade. And so I’m a big proponent of Panama and Colombia.

And …

I believe that once we get health care one way or another, I think we’ll going to pass a health care bill, I think we will in fact move on to address trade.

Here’s an .mp3 file of his trade remarks.

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