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 TrumpTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight South Korea leader: North Korea agrees to take steps toward denuclearization Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' MORE to provide greater transparency on the White House’s trade policy.

Senator Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenSome employees' personal data revealed in State Department email breach: report Hillicon Valley: North Korean IT firm hit with sanctions | Zuckerberg says Facebook better prepared for midterms | Big win for privacy advocates in Europe | Bezos launches B fund to help children, homeless Hillicon Valley: Trump signs off on sanctions for election meddlers | Russian hacker pleads guilty over botnet | Reddit bans QAnon forum | FCC delays review of T-Mobile, Sprint merger | EU approves controversial copyright law 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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