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.
“The Senate’s constitutional role on treaties is both unique and vital. What we’re doing today will directly positively – if we adopt ratification – impact American workers, American businesses, and American consumers,” said Chairman Menendez. “There are few things that we do in the Senate than can improve our economy, create jobs, and meet the challenge of China in this one dimension . . . . [The Kigali Amendment] will help meet our challenge against China. It will create greater security at home. It will create greater prosperity.”
Find a copy of Chairman Menendez’s remarks as delivered below.
“Madam President, I rise today to once again urge my Senate colleagues to take the bipartisan, practical, pro-manufacturing step of providing advice and consent to ratifying the Kigali Amendment.
Each of the four previous amendments to this treaty, the Montreal Protocol, have enjoyed overwhelming bipartisan support in the Senate and Kigali should be no different.
Our companies are clear. They want us to approve this treaty so that they can maximize their export potential of cutting-edge chemicals that they have pioneered.
They want us to approve the treaty. It will generate billions of dollars in economic activity and create thousands of jobs here at home in the United States.
They’re also clear that if we fail to ratify, they stand to lose.
They will be locked out of export markets in key products. American workers will suffer, which is why the National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and impacted industries all support the action we are preparing to take.
Now, I’ve heard the concerns that some colleagues have raised about China and how it benefits from its antiquated status as a ‘developing country’ under the Montreal Protocol.
Frankly, it’s a fair point to raise. But it should have no bearing on whether we join Kigali. The simple fact is whether we join Kigali or not has no impact on whether China is treated as a developing country. None. On the other hand, ratifying Kigali will have a major positive benefit for us because China has doubled down on yesterday's chemicals. And we, the United States, lead on all the alternatives. Joining Kigali will turn the world away from China and its companies and toward our competitive strength.
It is good for the United States and our businesses, and it is bad for China. However, I also recognize the plain fact that China is no longer a developing country, and I agree that it should not enjoy advantages under the Montreal Protocol that it receives because of decisions made more than 30 years ago.
I’ve been a steadfast champion in addressing the challenges China presents as they are not as we hope for them to be. I led passage of the Strategic Competition Act, and my Taiwan Policy Act was recently voted out of the Foreign Relations Committee on an overwhelming bipartisan basis.
So I have no problem acknowledging that China no longer should qualify as a developing country. And for that reason, I support the Lee-Sullivan Amendment.
Madam President, the Senate’s constitutional role on treaties is both unique and vital. What we’re doing today will directly positively – if we adopt ratification – impact American workers, American businesses, and American consumers.
It will meet our challenge against China. It will create greater security at home. It will create greater prosperity. There are few things that we do in the Senate than can improve our economy, create jobs, and meet the challenge of China in this one dimension. For all of those reasons, I urge my colleagues to support providing advice and consent for the Kigali Amendment after the Sullivan Amendment is considered. And with that, I yield the floor.”