Chairman Menendez Opens Debate for Senate Consideration of Kigali Amendment to Montreal Protocol

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today delivered the following remarks on the Floor in support of Senate approval of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.

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“Ratifying Kigali means ensuring U.S. companies dominate the export markets. Failure to ratify means a wasted investment and a missed opportunity. Ratifying means we will see thousands more domestic manufacturing jobs—33,000 according to industry estimates. Failure to ratify means U.S. businesses that employ tens of thousands of people across the country will not be able to sell many of their products in key countries,” Chairman Menendez said. “So the choice on this is clear. … Let’s support American businesses. Let’s continue to be the global leader. Let’s support American consumers. Let’s make sure the United States stays ahead of the competition.”

  

Find a copy of Chairman Menendez’s remarks as delivered below.

“Mr. President, I rise to speak to the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. I thank the Leader for bringing this important legislative initiative to the Senate Floor. I want to thank our Republican colleagues that have joined in a bipartisan effort to send a very strong message that this is about America’s competitiveness. This is about America’s security. This is about challenging China.

For more than 20 years, U.S. manufacturers have been hard at work pioneering new technologies for our refrigerators and air conditioners. They have defined the global standard, and they have the competitive advantage over companies in China and India, which have doubled down on yesterday’s technology. 

Our companies want and need the Senate to support them so that they can continue to lead, to create jobs, and to export their goods to global markets. 

And so Mr. President, that is why I come to the Floor today.

To urge my Senate colleagues to provide advice and consent to the Kigali Amendment – the fifth technical update to the incredibly successful Montreal Protocol.

A treaty amendment that passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by bipartisan voice vote. This shows the depth and scope of bipartisan support.

Each of the four prior updates were approved by the full Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support, and I urge my colleagues to do the same for Kigali.

The Amendment is a success story of business and government working together, dating back to the George W. Bush administration. 

It is an update that will ensure U.S. leadership in exports into the future, and it is the only way to keep our businesses from being locked out of markets around the world.

American businesses are clear: It is time to phase-down antiquated chemicals known as HFCs, which American manufacturers want to leave behind.

It is time to usher in a new era in which their modern products are purchased all over the world.

Our companies already lead in this space. They have been investing billions of dollars to develop new technologies – alternatives to HFCs. And they have done so in ways that will ultimately decrease costs for U.S. consumers.

That’s why—for the time being—we have the competitive advantage over China and others.

So the choice on this is clear.

Ratifying Kigali means ensuring U.S. companies dominate the export markets.

Failure to ratify means a wasted investment and a missed opportunity. 

Ratifying means we will see thousands more domestic manufacturing jobs—33,000 according to industry estimates.

Failure to ratify means U.S. businesses that employ tens of thousands of people across the country will not be able to sell many of their products in key countries.

We’re talking about $4.8 billion annually of increased exports, $12.5 billion of increased economic output per year. So, do we want billions of dollars a year in more exports and economic output, or do we want to have lost jobs? Do we want lost exports? Do we want our companies suffering needlessly?

Beginning in 2033, the nations around the world that have already joined Kigali—one-hundred and thirty-seven and counting that have already done this—will be required to block the imports of most HFCs from countries that have not joined Kigali. 

So we would be blocked if we don’t in fact ratify this amendment.

We don’t want U.S. manufacturers to be on the outside looking in. They employ thousands of people all over the country.

We don’t want them to be unable to sell products that that they have been at the forefront of developing.

Adopting this treaty amendment is the only way to keep our businesses from being locked out of global markets.

Let’s not waste the engagement and encouragement by the Bush administration that led U.S. manufacturers to develop alternatives to these harmful chemicals.

Let’s not waste the accomplishments made by the AIM Act, which President Trump signed into law.

We need to remember that the AIM Act provides for the exact same chemical phase-down required by Kigali, which means we have already taken the required steps domestically.

This means that we wouldn’t be required to do anything more if we ratify Kigali, but we will miss out on billions in exports and thousands of jobs if we fail to do so.

That is the essence: that is why manufacturers all over the country – in states like Wisconsin, Texas and Kentucky – support Senate approval of Kigali.

That is why there has been an outpouring of support from the business community, including major employers like Walmart, Carrier, Trane, Lennox, and others.

That is why the National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the impacted industries all support this practical and bipartisan Senate action.

So in closing, I ask my colleagues to fulfill our Constitutional role in the treaty process by providing advice and consent to the Kigali Amendment. 

That requires 67 votes – I think we are well on our way there.

Let’s support American businesses.

Let’s continue to be the global leader.

Let’s support American consumers.

Let’s make sure the United States stays ahead of the competition.

Let’s beat China instead of help China at the end of the day.

We can do all of that and so much more by adopting today’s amendment.

I want to thank so many who have worked on this in a bipartisan effort. Senator Kennedy has been working very hard. I want to thank my colleague Senator Carper, the Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, who has been so passionate about the Kigali Amendment and such a force to bring us to this moment today.

With that, Mr. President, I yield the floor.”

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Juan Pachon


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