Bloomfield: Let's Take a Measured Approach to Trade
"Let me address several of the bills I introduced. The REAL Tuna act would strengthen our domestic supply of tuna by ensuring higher quality fish are not replaced by less quality fish. It will protect our domestic fishermen from being undercut by foreign fisheries skirting labeling issues. Let them compete under proper labels. Similarly, the JAWS Act will protect our domestic seafood industries from competing with those nations which continue to allow the practice known as 'shark finning.' If foreign seafood sellers want to sell in the US, then they'll need to join us in following the same rules that we apply to ourselves.
The Made in America Act will allow for a voluntary labeling program to be implemented. It will allows manufacturers wish to label their products with an American Star to signify that they utilize American manufacturing and are proud to do so. It would be nice to see the American Star be as ubiquitous as the 'Made in China' stickers and stamping seem to be.
The PATRIA Act will impose a ban on petroleum products from Venezuela. That country has been curtailing human rights and proper democratic practices for far too long and we have largely looked the other way. Or we have been content to 'tut-tut' them as "isn't that the way things always go under communists?" without taking any concrete action. The PATRIA Act is a straight-forward measure with a clear punishment and remedy approach. The stick is impose a ban on one of their most important exports and give them to power to correct themselves. If they correct themselves, then the punishment will be lifted.
A number of these bills I introduced are to protect or otherwise bolster American industry. Yet, I do believe in trade and wish to see some progress in improving our trade relations with Cuba. Some argue for immediately and fully lifting the Cuban embargo and immediately normalizing all trade relations. This is the wrong approach and would result in a victory for the Castro regime. Normalizing relations with no demanded changes was the approach largely utilized against communist China and it has not resulted in China improving their human rights record. We should instead utilize a marginal, step-by-step approach with Cuba; certainly, normalizing and having free trade relations with Cuba should be the ultimate goal, but that goal should not be the starting point. The Encouraging Improved Cuban Relations Act of 2017 calls for the President to enter into negotiations of settling outstanding claims of the Cuban government seizing lands that did not belong to them and improving human rights conditions in Cuba. If those negotiations are successful, then we should consider taking further steps of lifting the embargo, improving telecommunication systems, and allowing unfettered tourism and remittances to Cuba. That Raul Castro plans to step down in 2018 would be a great time for the regime to give up their grip on the island and allow for truly fair, open, and multi-party elections."