By Kate Bennett-McLeodUpdated January 12, 2018 07:50:25The debate over US-China trade policy has begun in the House of Representatives.
During debate on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Republican Rep. Tom MacArthur called for US trade to be “replaced with fair trade,” as he introduced legislation to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank.
The bill is supported by US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and was introduced by Democratic Representative Jared Polis.
In the Senate, Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin introduced legislation that would make it harder for China to challenge US intellectual property rights.
The TPP would allow foreign corporations to challenge the US government’s intellectual property in court.
The US Trade Representatives Office of Intellectual Property and Technology told Business Insider that the legislation was not about US intellectual rights, but instead a “significant extension of the US’s trade agreements with countries like Vietnam and Mexico, which allow foreign companies to challenge existing intellectual property and patent protections.”
In fact, the Senate bill would not even make China’s patent system more open, as USTR officials have previously warned.
However, some Republicans in Congress have expressed support for the bill, and some Democratic senators have expressed concerns that it would undermine intellectual property protections.
“The bill will be good for our industries,” Republican Sen. Mark Kirk said during a hearing on the bill.
“It will give us the tools to enforce our own intellectual property laws.”
Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee said the bill would “put us on a path to a new era of free trade.”
However, the Republican Party’s top congressional leader, House Speaker Paul Ryan, said the legislation would “not only hurt American workers and businesses, but also our economy.”
“The TPP is bad for our country.
It’s bad for American manufacturing,” Ryan said in a statement.
“The bill’s language would also allow foreign firms to challenge American intellectual property.”
In addition, a report from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) found that the TPP would not help US workers.
“For each dollar spent on trade agreements, $2.15 is lost to the US economy, according to the report,” the report said.
“While the bill is not a solution to our nation’s trade deficits, it is not an improvement either, either.”
Cristina Marcos contributed reporting from San Antonio.