– As Delivered –
WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following remarks on the House floor in support of a resolution reaffirming the strategic partnership between the United States and Canada (H.Res.357):
“Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this measure, and I yield myself as much time as I may consume.
“I want to first of all thank the gentleman from South Carolina, Mr. Duncan—who until recently was the Chairman of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee. We’ll have you back on the Committee anytime you want to come, Mr. Duncan. I thank you for authorizing this resolution reaffirming the importance of the strategic partnership between the United States and Canada.
“I appreciate the efforts of my good friend Mr. Meeks as the lead Democratic sponsor, and again thank Chairman Royce for working to bring this measure to the House floor.
“It’s only appropriate that after spending time on the House floor discussing the importance of the U.S. relationship with our neighbor to the south that we also focus on the strategic partnership between the United States and our neighbor to the north, which of course is Canada.
“Canada is our second largest trading partner. Interesting, Canada is our second largest trading partner—Mexico our third largest trading partner—with about $1.7 billion in goods and services and 400,000 citizens from both countries crossing the border on a daily basis.
“Think about that: 400,000 citizens from both countries cross the U.S.-Canadian border on a daily basis.
“The pre-clearance process makes it easy for Americans traveling to Canada to clear U.S. customs while at a number of airports in Canada and arrive back home almost as if they were on a domestic flight.
“Of course, our relationship goes far beyond commerce and tourism. And, I’m particularly pleased that H.Res.357 takes note of the extensive cooperation between the United States and Canada at NATO.
“Canada has been—and remains—a key U.S. ally in several international conflicts around the world, including in Afghanistan where Canada employed 2,800 troops to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force from 2006 to 2011.
“I also want to note the crucial role that Canada has played in holding Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his lackeys accountable through both multilateral action at the OAS—Organization of American States—and targeted sanctions. Most recently, I was very pleased that Canadian Foreign Minister Freeland hosted the Lima Group in Toronto in October.
“Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, the U.S.-Canada relationship needs to be rejuvenated, needs to be not, not be taken for granted. We have to work at that over time, and I think it’s important that we all work at that.
“As a global entity, the U.S.-Canada relationship should be a relatively even one to manage.
“We don’t want to have jobs at risk by creating a trade war with Canada. Trade disputes between two big neighbors are normal. We should not be escalating manageable disagreements in a way that could hurt workers in both of our countries.
“So, I believe that we should let all the leaders know that the House is leading the way, and we hope that everyone follows Congress’s lead today in affirming the importance of the U.S.-Canada relationship, and I reserve the balance of my time.”
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