Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would like to thank both you and Ranking Member Sarbanes for agreeing to hold this hearing on the national export strategy. As a firm believer in the benefits of open trade policies, the need to ensure that U.S. goods and services can compete abroad in international markets is one of my highest priorities. Unfortunately, all too often our goods and services are held at a competitive disadvantage due to both tariff and fundamental non-tariff barriers. Meanwhile goods and services from other nations have no such restrictions in our domestic markets.
Furthermore, many of our trade agreements contain initiatives intended to ensure against unfair trading practices by our foreign competition. This is an issue of great importance to North Carolina where our manufacturing base has been hemorrhaging due to foreign competition violating our trade agreements. This issue worries me a great deal. Let me be clear; I am not advocating any drastic breaks in our trade relations. I am simply advocating the active use of initiatives that exist in our current trade laws which were designed to protect industries from illegal practices. One example of a clear violation is transshipments in which one country will avoid their import quotas by shipping their product through a different country which has not yet made its quota. I have seen evidence of this with China sending their textiles through Vietnam, a country which does not remotely have the capacity to manufacture the amount of textiles they export.
Enforcement of our existing laws to protect our industries against illegal trade practices is one of my top priorities in the Senate. I look forward to working with my colleagues and the administration on these trade issues. I want to assure you all that my staff and I are always available to work through these issues.