Lee Calls for Congress to Pass His Trade Bill
by Elias J. Atienza
On Thursday, Trade Representative Mike Froman said that Obama’s threat to place Great Britain at “the back of the queue” was happening. The U.S is not looking to renegotiate a trade deal with the country, the Trade Representative said.
“The U.K. first and foremost needs to focus on how to define its future relationship with the EU and that will be its overwhelming preoccupation and it’s really impossible for anybody else to negotiate a free trade agreement with the U.K. until you know what is its competence,” Froman said in an interview with Bloomberg.
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) slammed the statements made by Froman in a statement released the same day.
“When the British people chose sovereignty this June by voting to leave the European Union, many feared President Obama could greatly damage both our nations by following through on his threat to send the United Kingdom ‘to the back of the queue’ when it came to negotiating trade deals,” Sen. Lee said. “Now, President Obama’s Trade Representative has told Bloomberg that threat is ‘in reality the case.’”
Lee introduced a bill with Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) called the United Kingdom Trade Continuity Act. The bill would continue existing trade agreements with Great Britain until a new one could be agreed upon.
Mike Lee continue:
“This is simply unacceptable. The United States’ relationship with the United Kingdom is more important than the personal disappointment of an outgoing president. That is why I introduced the United Kingdom Trade Continuity Act with Sen. Tom Cotton this June. Our bill would continue all existing commercial agreements with the United Kingdom as if the U.K. were still part of the European Union. It also calls on the President to initiate negotiations for new bilateral agreements with the United Kingdom 30 days after the bill is enacted. Congress should act quickly to pass the United Kingdom Trade Continuity Act before the year is out.”
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) also supports a post-Brexit trade deal as well. He told ABC affiliate WISN in June that the United States should begin “discussions with Great Britain” to “ease concerns.”
“We should begin discussions with Great Britain to ease concerns so that we do have a smooth trade relationship with Great Britain, because they are our indispensable ally,” he said.
Many Republicans support Brexit along with Libertarian Gary Johnson. Lee is isolated from the rest of the party along with a few others, because he has not endorsed Donald Trump.