Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which has the lead role in the House on trade agreements, discussed trade issues this week at a meeting of the International Trade Association. “We’re going global for the same reason the pioneers went west:  because that is where the opportunity is,” Ryan said.

On the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP),  Ryan remarked that the United States should complete the TPP without Japan or Canada if those nations are unwilling to reduce their trade barriers. “All negotiations are ongoing, and I don’t want to presume the outcome now.  But all agreements must win Congress’s support.  If I had to sum up my approach, it would be:  Aim high.  Go for the gold. Take down as many barriers as possible.  In fact, I would rather few countries signed on if it meant we took down more barriers overall.” Ryan said.

“Japan and Canada just have to lower their agricultural tariffs.  In some cases, Japan’s tariffs reach as high as 700 percent.  And Canada has big restrictions on dairy, poultry, and egg products.  Those have to go,”  Ryan said.  “If any of the 12 countries currently in the talks think our standards are too high, I’d complete the agreement without them and invite them to join it later,” he said

On the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the European Union, Ryan said “our biggest beef with them is they impose food and safety standards based on self-interest instead of science or sound policy.”  The European Union must eliminate all tariffs – every one of them – just as they promise at the outset.  And they must go further.  The must address those unjustified regulations.  It is their opportunity to set up a system that is transparent, coherent, and first-rate.”

The full text of  Chairman Ryan’s speech is available here.