Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) introduced HR 3733, the Trade and Environment Enforcement Act, also known as the Green 301 Act. Green 301 expands the Section 301 provisions of the Trade Act of 1974 to encompass environmental effects. It provides tools to help prevent practices by other countries that cause negative environmental impacts to human, animal, or plant life or health, or to prevent the conservation of exhaustible natural resources domestically or internationally.
“The United States has helped create the largest trade network the world has ever seen,” said Blumenauer. “As we leverage our commercial influence in the global economy, we can also ensure the countries we are doing business with adhere to basic environmental standards.”
Green 301 would allow the US government to impose penalties, including the increase of tariffs, on countries that:
- Fail to effectively enforce the environmental laws of a foreign country;
- Waived or otherwise derogated from the environmental laws of a foreign country or weakened the protections afforded by such laws;
- Fail to provide for judicial or administrative proceedings giving access to remedies for violations of the environmental laws of a foreign country;
- Fail to provide appropriate and effective sanctions or remedies for violations of the environmental laws of a foreign country; or
- Fail to effectively enforce environmental commitments in agreements to which a foreign country and the United States are a Party
“The promise of an open, mutually beneficial trade relationship with the US is both a carrot and a stick,” continued Blumenauer. “Green 301, which is supported by the top environmental and conservation groups, lets our trade partners know that, not only does the United States expect our partners to adhere to environmental agreements, but now there could be serious economic penalties for countries that don’t hold up their end of the bargain.”
Oregon and other states heavily dependent on international commerce are greatly disadvantaged when trading partners derogate from their environmental laws, which provide them with an unfair advantage and undercuts U.S. companies, which operate under strong environmental protections.
“Oregon’s iconic brands wouldn’t exist without strong international trading relationships,” said Blumenauer. “But my support for international trade agreements has always been predicated on the notion that the agreements establish a balanced trading regime. Our companies play by the rules, and we expect others to as well.”