Senate Finance Dems want more transparency on trade from Trump

Senate Finance Dems want more transparency on trade from Trump
© Greg Nash

Senate Finance Committee Democrats on Friday called on President TrumpDonald John TrumpTom Arnold claims to have unreleased 'tapes' of Trump Cohen distances himself from Tom Arnold, says they did not discuss Trump US military indefinitely suspends two training exercises with South Korea MORE to provide greater transparency on the White House’s trade policy.

Senator Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenScrutiny ramps up over Commerce secretary's stock moves Hillicon Valley: Justices require warrants for cellphone location data | Amazon employees protest facial recognition tech sales | Uber driver in fatal crash was streaming Hulu | SpaceX gets contract to launch spy satellite On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Supreme Court allows states to collect sales taxes from online retailers | Judge finds consumer bureau structure unconstitutional | Banks clear Fed stress tests MORE (Ore.), ranking member of the Finance Committee, with nine other panel Democrats, urged the president to direct federal heads responsible for trade policy, such as the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the Commerce Department, to follow transparency rules in trade negotiations and release trade reports to the public.

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"Recent decisions by the administration to begin trade negotiations with [South] Korea without complying with basic transparency requirements set out in U.S. law and the failure of the administration to release several trade-related reports raise serious questions regarding the administration’s commitment to openness with the American public when it comes to trade policy,” the senators wrote in their letter to Trump.

The senators specifically criticized the Trump administration for failing to provide the necessary formal notice of negotiations or objectives to Congress on the recent start of trade talks with South Korea.

They said that the administration hasn't consulted House or Senate advisory groups, either. 

Under the trade promotion authority law, the White House is required to consult with Congress on any trade negotiation.

"As it stands the public has been kept in the dark as to the administration’s specific intentions regarding the renegotiation of a free trade agreement that is second only to NAFTA [North American Free Trade Agreement] in size," the senators wrote. 

"Neither the USTR nor the Commerce Department has released a range of reports the president directed them to prepare last year on the causes of significant trade deficits, government procurement and violations or abuses of World Trade Organization rules," they senators wrote.

The senators also urged the president to ensure that Commerce completes its reports to the president on the Section 232 investigations of steel and aluminum imports and releases them to the public.

On Thursday night, Commerce sent the steel report results to Trump. He has 90 days to decide what to do next. 

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