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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., helped trade negotiating legislation clear a procedural hurdle this morning and in the evening the Senate passed the bill.

Enzi and 63 colleagues voted to end a filibuster of the bill, finish debate and vote on final passage. Sixty votes were needed to end the filibuster. The Senate passed the bill by the same 64-34 margin this evening.

The bill would allow the President to negotiate trade agreements that Congress could approve or reject, but not amend. Supporters say the measure will give agreements negotiated between the President and foreign trading partners more certainty, encouraging more trade and opening up new markets.

Enzi had been reluctant to support the bill because of concerns on how it might impact the Wyoming agricultural community. Enzi was also concerned about giving too much authority to the executive branch of government. However, he said changes that help the bill avoid these pitfalls were made through the legislative process.

Enzi said there were three principal reasons he decided to support the bill.

"First, some of the products we produce in Wyoming are particularly sensitive to foreign imports. We were able to get provisions included in this bill that recognize that and require the President to consult with Industry Advisory Committees and the International Trade Commission on certain negotiations," said Enzi. "This bill requires the Administration to notify and gather input from people like ranchers and farmers who produce import-sensitive products during trade negotiations."

"Second, if negotiators don't listen to concerns about proposed changes to trade remedy laws, this bill enables Congress to pass a formal resolution of disapproval. Such a resolution would let negotiators know they may be heading in the wrong direction," said Enzi. "This bill also sets rigorous enforcement of U.S. trade remedy laws as a principal negotiating objective and increases reporting requirements for possible modifications to trade laws," said Enzi.

The reporting provision in the legislation would require the President to report to the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee 180 days before entering into a trade agreement regarding any negotiation that may require a change to U.S. trade laws.

"Third, there is specific language in this bill that addresses a major concern of sugar producers," said Enzi.

Wyoming sugar producers have been hurt by a "sugar laundering" operation being conducted through Canada. The process starts when a commodity trader in Canada blends sugar, water and molasses in a ratio that would exempt the mixture from U.S. import duties Canada enjoys under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This mixture is then trucked across the U.S. border to a factory controlled by the same commodity trader where the sugar is separated from the molasses mixture. The sugar is then sold in the U.S. market free of tariff and the rest of the mixture is returned to Canada to be "stuffed" again. The "sugar loophole" and others like it would be closed by this trade bill.

"The bill makes the determination that stuffed molasses should be considered imported sugar and therefore subject to tariffs. It also requires the Secretary of Agriculture to monitor other existing or likely circumventions of tariff-rate quotas and report on these to the President," said Enzi.

The House passed the bill July 27 with a vote of 215-212. The legislation now goes to the President for his signature. The President has vigorously sought passage of the bill.

A statement from Senator Enzi follows.

Enzi floor statement regarding trade bill
Aug. 1, 2002

Mr. President. I rise to share my thoughts on the trade bill we passed this afternoon that gives our President renewed trade negotiating authority.

Like many of my colleagues, I hail from a state that's particularly sensitive to foreign imports of agricultural products, for example Wyoming's two largest cash crops are sugar and cattle, and where trade makes a big impact on certain industries.

I believe in fair trade, and I support the efforts of our President as he works to improve our multilateral and bilateral relationships. I have also worked diligently with members from both sides of the aisle to improve our ability to participate in international trade. You will remember I urged my colleagues last year to vote for the Export Administration Act - a bill which would streamline our export control system so that items that do not need to be controlled may move more easily across borders. I believe that international trade is an effective way to boost the economy, but it must be done responsibly and carefully.

I voted in favor of this bill today for three primary reasons.

First, I strongly support the bill's provisions that recognize the sensitive nature of some industries. I believe the most essential provision related to import sensitive goods is the mandate that requires the President to consult with Industry Advisory Committees and the International Trade Commission on certain negotiations. This bill requires the Administration to notify and gather input during trade negotiations from people like ranchers and farmers who produce import-sensitive products.

Second, as an original cosponsor of the Craig-Dayton Amendment, the new language in the bill addressing trade remedy laws is critical. This bill provides that if negotiators don't listen to concerns about proposed changes to trade remedy laws, Congress can pass a formal resolution of disapproval. This puts up a red flag to the negotiators that they are treading on shaky ground and may want to rethink their position. In addition, I am also pleased this bill sets rigorous enforcement of U.S. trade remedy laws as a principal negotiating objective and increases reporting requirements for possible modifications to trade laws.

Third, there is specific language in this bill that addresses a major concern of sugar producers. Wyoming sugar producers have been hurt by a "sugar laundering" operation being conducted through Canada. The process starts when a commodity trader in Canada blends sugar, water and molasses in a ratio that would exempt the mixture from U.S. import duties Canada enjoys under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This mixture is then trucked across the U.S. border to a factory controlled by the same commodity trader where the sugar is separated from the molasses mixture. The sugar is then sold in the U.S. market free of tariff and the rest of the mixture is returned to Canada to be "stuffed" again. The "sugar loophole" and others like it would be closed by this trade bill. The bill makes the determination that stuffed molasses should be considered imported sugar and therefore subject to tariffs. It also requires the Secretary of Agriculture to monitor other existing or likely circumventions of tariff-rate quotas and report on these to the President.

Beyond these specific reasons, I cast my affirmative vote today because fair trade is essential to the economic growth of all industries. The next step is rule and regulation, and I will carefully watch to ensure that the interests of Wyomingites are protected.

I yield the floor.