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Lankford, Menendez Want US Trade, National Security Objectives Aligned

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Senator James Lankford (R-OK), who serves on the Senate Finance Committee with jurisdiction over trade, today was joined by Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a member of the Senate Finance Committee, to introduce the American Economic Diplomacy Act that would ensure the Annual Trade Agenda aligns with, reflects, and advances American foreign policy and national security objectives. For decades, Administrations in both parties have failed to show how the ways the Annual Trade Agenda aligns with two other required documents from the Administration: the National Security Strategy (NSS) and the National Defense Strategy (NDS).

“Effective trade and foreign policy should also line up with our domestic and security priorities. This year’s Annual Trade Agenda reads more like activism instead of offering a clear connection to our national defense and foreign policy objectives,” said Lankford. “Our trade policy should focus on opening up new markets for American agriculture and businesses, reducing our reliance on China for critical supply chains, and building on the positive national security and diplomatic gains from the Abraham Accords, while promoting the unalienable right of religious freedom worldwide. We should set clear trade parameters so the right hand of the Biden Administration, or any future administration, knows what the left hand is doing to maximize our national security and our trade goals at the same time.” 

“Trade policy is not only key for supporting American businesses, it is also one of our most powerful tools for advancing US interests abroad,” said Menendez. “From free trade agreements to sanctions, by ensuring trade policy aligns with our National Securities and Defense Strategies, we can promote domestic prosperity that will benefit American workers and strengthen our ability to achieve our foreign policy goals.”

Lankford remains a leader in advocating for a smart and effective national trade policy as a foreign policy tool that aligns with our national security objectives. Last Congress, he led the Quad Critical Minerals Partnership Act which would leverage alliances with allies in the Indo-Pacific to reduce reliance on China for rare earth elements. Last month, Lankford led a bipartisan letter to President Biden outlining the success of the Abraham Accords and urging its expansion through trade policy. Lankford was joined by Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Ted Budd (R-NC), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Steve Daines (R-MT), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Dan Sullivan (R-AK). He received a brief response from Ambassador Tai two days ago. In a Senate Finance hearing yesterday, Lankford called out the Biden Administration’s lack of trade priorities.

Lankford and Rosen, who are co-founders and co-chairs of the Senate Abraham Accords Caucus, led a group of their Senate colleagues to the Abraham Accords countries. Following the Senators’ trip, the Department of Homeland Security announced the expansion of the Abraham Accords to cybersecurity.

In 2015, Lankford successfully secured a Trade Promotion Authority amendment that promotes international religious freedom in our trade negotiations with nations like China.

Background on the American Economic Diplomacy Act

The Administration has published its national security priorities in a variety of documents, including the NSS and the NDS, which were released prior to the Annual Trade Agenda. Unfortunately, it is clear that the objectives of the Annual Trade Agenda are out of sync with the NSS and the NDS, a fact Lankford and Menendez seek to remedy with this legislation.

The American Economic Diplomacy Act would require the President to include an explanation of how the Annual Trade Agenda advances the objectives of the NSS and NDS.