Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, chaired by U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), passed legislation to continue a U.S.-South Korea civilian nuclear energy agreement, reform the Organization of American States, and promote U.S. exports.

H.R. 2449, introduced by Chairman Royce last month, would extend for two years the current U.S.-South Korea civilian nuclear energy cooperation agreement, which will expire in March 2014.

Chairman Royce said:  “This extension would allow the negotiators time to focus on substantive matters of the agreement instead of focusing on the clock.  The U.S.-Korea civilian nuclear energy partnership has been of great economic importance to both nations for several decadesAs we continue to strengthen our alliance with our long-time ally, South Korea, we must ensure that our cooperation in the area or civilian nuclear energy cooperation continues to grow stronger as well.” 

The Committee also passed, as amended:

H.R. 1409, The Export Promotion Act, introduced by Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the Committee’s Ranking Member, which would amend the Export Enhancement Act of 1988 to further enhance the promotion of exports of United States goods and services.  The legislation requires the Secretary of Commerce to assess global markets and deploy foreign commercial officers where there is the greatest potential for export promotion. The legislation would further require evaluations of these foreign commercial officers, on the basis of the effectiveness of their export promotion work, promoting accountability.

H.R. 1926, State Trade Coordination Act, introduced by Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, which would further enhance the promotion of exports of United States goods and services.  The legislation would require at least one representative from a state-based trade promotion agency to sit on the Department of Commerce’s interagency export promotion task force.  H.R. 1926 also directs the Department to integrate the strategies of the state trade promotion agencies into overall federal trade promotion efforts, which would result in a more efficient delivery of services to small businesses, whose efforts to export are often thwarted by complicated export regulations and ever-changing tariff and non-tariff barriers.

S. 793, Organization of American States Revitalization and Reform Act, introduced by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), which supports and reforms of the Organization of American States (OAS).  S.793 seeks to push the OAS to refocus on its core principles of promoting democratic governance and institutions and resolving regional disputes.  This bi-partisan bill requires the Secretary of State to submit a strategy to Congress that identifies a path toward the adoption of necessary reforms that prioritize and reinforce the OAS’s core competencies.  A Royce-Engel amendment adopted during today’s markup seeks to strengthen the bill, adding that it is in the interest of the United States, OAS member states, and a modernized OAS to move toward an assessed fee structure that establishes that no member state pays more than 50% of the organization’s assessed fees, lessening the U.S. contribution.

 A summary of the Committee action, including adopted amendments, is available HERE.