Legislative Update: Trade Agreements, GSP, Seafood Imports, Natural Gas Exports
Trade Agreements. The Promoting Transparency in Trade Act (H.R. 3339, introduced July 25 by Rep. Dingell, D-Mich.) would require the U.S. trade representative to (1) publish trade agreement texts before and after each round of negotiations and (2) appoint a transparency officer who does not have, or appear to have, any conflict of interest in ensuring the transparency of USTR activities. Dingell said the bill aims to “bring clarity to the [trade negotiation] process, which is currently off limits to the American people, and ensure the public – not just corporations and special interests – have a seat at the table on policies that impact their lives and economic well-being.”
GSP. The Bindu Philips and Devon Davenport International Child Abduction Return Act (H.R. 3512, introduced July 27 by Rep. Smith, R-N.J.) would automatically remove trade preferences under the Generalized System of Preferences from countries named as non-compliant in returning U.S. children abducted by one parent and taken to another country. Smith said 11 of the 13 countries found to be non-compliant by an annual State Department report are still eligible for GSP benefits.
Seafood Imports. The Justice Attributed to Wounded Sharks Act (H.R. 3377, introduced July 25 by Rep. Farenthold, R-Texas) would prohibit imports of seafood products from countries that (a) do not prohibit shark finning in their territorial waters or (b) sell, possess, import, or consume shark fins obtained through shark finning.
Natural Gas. The License Natural Gas Now Act (H.R. 3367, introduced July 24 by Rep. Higgins, R-La.) would guarantee acceptance of natural gas export volume applications and establish market growth of U.S. exports without burdensome delays. A press release from Higgins’ office states that dated restrictions have stalled new project development and application processing at the Department of Energy. The bill would preserve the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s LNG export facility process and the executive branch’s ability to limit net trade during national emergencies or as sanctions against nations unfriendly to the U.S.