tv Commerce Secretary Nominee Wilbur Ross Testifies at Confirmation Hearing CSPAN January 19, 2017 3:40pm-5:04pm EST
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> we are back. we will pick up where we left off and start with senator cruz for his questions. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. ross, congratulations to you and your family on this nomination. i think you are going to do a terrific job and i look forward to this committee working closely with you.
i'll tell you one of the things i'm most excited about, you and i had an opportunity to visit at length, and your commitment to regulatory reform, to working to reduce the burdens of washington on small business and job creators i think it's critically important and i think it is shared by cabinet appointees throughout this administration. and that is what aspect that is going have among the most dramatic impacts on bringing back a jobs, expanding the number of high-paying jobs and raising wages across the country. so i commend you for that. i want to talk about a number of specific areas. i want to start with addressing spectrum, which as you know it's been a long time interest of this committee. and the demand for spectrum continues growing at remarkable levels. indeed, u.s. mobile data doubled usage from 2012 to 2013 and is projected to increase by 650% by
2018. and spectrum is always scarce but that's exacerbated by the fact that the federal government owns or shares roughly half of the spectrum. and that presents both a challenge and an opportunity. it is a challenge in that government agencies that are notoriously reluctant to give up or share any of the spectrum that they have control of. it is an opportunity in that it provides the potential for billions of dollars of revenue to the federal government while at the same time opening up new spectrum that can create millions of high-paying jobs and increase wages across the country. i wanted to ask you, i think there is room for a lot of creative policymaking, working with your fellow cabinet members who have control of spectrum to find a way to incentivize those agencies to work to make more
spectrum available for the public and have it be a win-win all around. i wanted to ask you to comment on that and in particular for a commitment to work with me and work with this committee to explore significantly increasing the bandwidth and spectrum that is available to the public, and the revenue that would be available to the federal government. >> you need to turn your microphone on, sir. >> i think it is absolutely essential that we do that. i think the tricky part is the one that you and i discussed at some length, which is how do you incentivize other agencies to give up the spectrum that perhaps they don't really need? i think there's a natural tendency for everyone to want to keep on two things in case they need it pics i think the tricky thing which probably would involve public policy questions for the congress would be how do you provide some sort of an incentive? is there something that commerce
itself can do, if confirmed, i will do my best to put that into effect, but i don't see anything immediately obvious as a solution that congress itself to do. >> i look forward to our working together and to solve it together creatively. let me shift to a different topic. which is there is been growing concern about china making acquisitions in the united states, and among other things gaining significant influence in the u.s. movie industry. making major acquisitions, potentially creating an environment where entertainment companies in the united states engage in self-censorship because of foreign ownership. that concerns all of us who care about free speech and do not want to see speech censored by other nations. do you share those concerns, and what steps do you see potentially that we could take
to mitigate those concerns? >> i think it's one of the most important questions facing us right now, and it's not just food. food is certainly an element of national security by any measure. but it's also little high-tech companies, they are making a lot of venture capital investments and maybe the dollars are not so significant but the technology potentially is. and in areas like semiconductor, i'm very, very concerned about that because they are the worlds largest, they, the chinese are the worlds largest consumer of semi conductors, so far importing it a lot from here. semiconductors are a building block. second, when president-elect trump convened the high-tech ceos a few weeks ago, i was struck to learn from them that
the closer they get to content, the more constrictive the chinese are on their activities. so it seems not very reciprocal that they want to control entertainment and other media i.t. and are yet denying our companies anything getting remotely close to that. so there isn't even a balance and that's a separate problem that's characteristic of a lot of the relationships within. >> i look forward to working with you on that issue. my time has expired. let me briefly ask a final question which this committee has expressed considerable concern over the decision of the prior administration to transfer control of icann, the basic infrastructure of the internet to a consortium of foreign countries including countries like russia and china and iran. do you share those concerns and we commit to working with this committee to ensure that we protect free speech on the internet and that we do not allow enemies of free speech to exercise authority that restricts our freedoms here in
america? >> as such a big market and really as the inventors of the internet, i'm a little surprised that we seem to be essentially voiceless in the governance of that activity. that strikes me as an intellectually incorrect solution, but i'm not aware of what it is that we actually can do right now. to deal with that. if some realistic alternative comes up i would be very interested in help to explore. >> senator baldwin is up next. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. ross, it's good to see it again. i appreciate your coming by my office last week to discuss various trade issues, that's what i want to start. you authored the trump trade doctrine, and it's something i think i shared with you at first
glance i agree with substantial part of it. like you and president-elect trump i believe that we need a new approach to trade. and i hope that we can, in fact, work together on creating a new trade agenda that increases wages, create jobs and cracks down on cheating from countries like china. and strengthens the manufacturing sector in our country and in states like wisconsin. i hope that we can work together to achieve these goals in the years ahead. while trade has gained a lot of national attention recently, it's really been on the top of my mind for many years, and certainly my constituents, too. given that we share some of the trade priorities i'd like to take an opportunity to drill down a bit further into some of
your plans to ensure that they will improve economic opportunities of wisconsinites who have really borne the brunt of some bad trade deals, very directly. mr. ross, you and the president-elect has spoken often about your desire to renegotiate one of our nation's trade agreements, nafta. i, too, have concerns without agreement. most notably, its prohibition of by america program. the procurement chapter of that agreement allows mexicans and canadian companies to bid for american taxpayer financed projects as domestic companies. can you commit to eliminating the procurement chapter in nafta? >> i think all aspects of nafta would be put on the table, and
that certainly is going to be a topic that would come up, but you don't have two do on anything until you have to deal and everything. so exactly what would come in a final treaty or not is a little bit premature to say. but i am certainly aware of the issue, and certainly aware of the president-elect's you about buy america. >> let me ask you in a slightly different way of understanding the complexities of renegotiating multilateral trade agreements. going forward do you believe that our trade agreements should allow foreign companies to bid as american companies through taxpayer-funded projects? >> i think it's a highly questionable practice, and i think that it is one that has to
be done with extreme care. they are probably a few segments where there may be technology that someone has that we can avail ourselves of, maybe some circumstances where it's totally appropriate. but many countries have the equivalence of buy america. it's not an unusual factor. and the chinese most of all i very good, good in the sense of strong policies, and i think that there should be a reciprocity. and at least of american companies can't bid on projects there, doesn't strike me as very logical that the company should be able to bid on projects here. reciprocity, it seems to me, is a fundamental principle, even at the devotee oh and it's one that is most honored by some of our nature trading partners.
>> in the trump economic plan, you discussed the phenomenon as caused by both a push of burdensome american regulations and the poll from foreign countries who do not have our labor or environmental standards. you've also been critical of the obama administration and their actions to prevent climate change and to protect labor rights domestically. in order to level the playing field, as you have proposed, can you commit to holding our trading partners to higher standards or only to lowering hours? >> the existing trade agreements have very, very weak enforcement in general, and particularly weakened enforcement in environmental and labor. take mexico, for example. the minimum wage in mexico has
barely changed in pesos for quite a few years. and the peso has depreciated quite a lot against the dollar. so on a purchasing power basis, the average mexican worker is far worse off than he or she was five or 10 years ago. that was not the original intent of nafta. one of the original intense was to bring up the standards of living there, bring up the labor conditions of their, make them a little bit more stable and more prosperous economy. and, frankly, reduce the gap for the productivity adjusted wages between the two countries. it hasn't worked that way, and that has to be, or if i am confirmed, will be a very serious topic for consideration. >> thank you, senator baldwin. senator moran. >> mr. ross, thank you very much for your interest in public service and your care for
americans and their jobs. let me first just associate myself with what the senator from mississippi, senator wicker, indicated to you and the conversation that we had in my office. i would add to his voice and tht infrastructure program needs to include broadband expansion, particularly in rural and underserved areas. and so mr. wicker race that topic with you. i won't spend any more time on it. i want to talk a bit about spectrum, wireless. first of all, senator udall and i have worked on legislation that was included in the budget act of 2015. it provided more funding and flexibly for federal agencies to use the spectrum reallocation fund for research and develop related to our spectrum activities. it was our intention this additional funding and flexibility would result in a more efficient use of spectrum by federal users and free up more government spectrum for
commercial use. omb overseas that fund but it does so in consultation with the national telecommunications and information administration as part of the department of commerce. i would like to have you assured me that the srf will be utilized to achieve those goals in your administration department of commerce, and as a follow-on i would indicate to you in following the center from nebraska's commentary about the use of spectrum, there's 82011 gao report that basically said that ntia you to improve its spectrum management policies to promote more efficient use of federal spectrum and the way i read that i think it bluntly indicated that ntia overseas, while it oversees the spectrum it is often pushed around by bigger federal agencies and departments. and, therefore, it's difficult
to get them, those agencies and departments who have little incentive to cooperate to give up their valuable spectrum. and i would ask you what can be done with ntia to get this to work better than it does today? >> i don't intend to be pushed around by anyone. >> i like the answer it also allows me to ask an additional question. we -- [laughter] we have taken a special interest in the efficiency of i.t. procurement and you indicated in your testimony that it's an area of, such of interest in. senator udall again and i introduced an act we call move it. it later involved into a legislation that designed to better accommodate agencies who seek a particular i.t. system, but they're unable to do so in their current budget framework.
i again would ask you to commit towards, attention towards modernizing the department of commerce and its i.t. infrastructure, particularly its legacy i.t., and you believe the federal government can better leverage commercial cloud-based solutions to save money and increase security? >> i'm a very big proponent of cloud. we have used it a lot in private sector, and as far as we can tell it is not only more efficient, it's probably also more secure for lots of very complicated technical reasons. i think it's a very important thing for government to do. and also have systems that talk to each other. there's an awful lot of silo in both within commerce and outside of commerce. and i think that is not a very satisfactory end result. we need to all be similar quality and efficiency of
communication. i think the tricky part of it is where to get the funding to make the change over? because there are some one-time costs to doing these. commerce already has several initiatives underway, and certainly encouraged by what i've learned about those. and i think much more could be done. >> i would indicate too many times the headline issue that we can deal with our left, they overcome the good government issues that are so desperately needed. let me finally say that as i indicated in my office that trade is an important, exports is an important matter to gantt center manufacture airplanes sold around the globe, agricultural commodities. i would highlight that for you but i would also point out that you that china recently increased its antidumping duties at his anti-subsidy tariffs on
u.s. -- the decision came just days after the chinese can decide to increase tariffs on u.s. ethanol from 5% to 30%. kansas farms also continued to be held back by china's refusal to approve new varieties of biotech corn which happen in 2014 i support a debbie tl case suspect that we deal. my point is too often we negotiate trade agreements and they're designed to level the playing field in regard to tariffs but in all the other issues that a country can bring to play, we high-five ourselves with the satisfaction of reaching a trade agreement but then we miss the point of defending and fighting the other things that prevent our products from getting into other countries. it seems compatible with what you been testifying. >> it is. i've been a victim over the years of some of these nontrade, nontariff trade barriers.
and there are quite insidious. but also, unfortunately, they can be quite effective. we need to deal with those. it's not enough to have an agreement that just hits tariffs. it's one of the reasons i think there should be systematic re- openers of trade agreements after a few year period. because it's hard to anticipate the ingenuity that some of these folks have to get around the intent of the agreement. so i think an automatic reopener, whether it's a sunset provision are just a real butter would be a very useful thing. so look back at what was originally contemplated, look back at what was originally projected to occur and to say we didn't achieve those objectives, why not and what do we need to do to fix them? i think an agreement like nafta, 40 years old and has never been a systematic transparent review
of it. >> mr. ross, if you are confirmed i intend to become on your shoe. >> i got that impression the other day. >> thank you, sir. >> he is, on our shoe on lot, too. just to that point, women victims, my state has come of agricultural producers, particularly beef producers. we call it honey laundering which is something the chinese event particularly effective at and we do need to enforce our laws and make sure people are playing by the rules. some very important issue to a lot of people on this committee. senator capito. >> thank you. good afternoon now, mr. ross, and thank you as well for joining me in my office last week. i enjoyed our conversation and they just wanted to kind of reiterate a few the issues that you and i talked about. no surprise for you here in
terms of what's important to the state of west virginia. we talked about the transition of our state from a cold econoy hopefully to a more high tech, keeping our cold economy going also trying to diversify. one of the administrations under the department of commerce is the eda. recently the epa has taken a renewed interest, thank goodness, my other peoples urging to really look at the severe travelogues in regions and to use those dollars to maximize the effect of entrepreneurship, catastrophe building and other ways for us to diversify our economy whether it's agriculture, high-tech, energy sector jobs. even though it's not a large agency in terms. ..
given its budgetary constraints, that is probably the most it can do, but i think that can be a very valuable function if properly applied. >> it absolutely can. in some of the rule areas where we have trouble attracting capital and investment, it can be first in, or last in and have some complete projects at the same time. i don't want you to think you are in an echo chamber but i do want to talk about rural broadband. i was pleased to learn, and you reiterated in your remarks that you have direct experience with
broad broadband deployment. the rule areas are really behind here. again, if we are transitioning or going to the next economy, if we don't have that stool of infrastructure development, we development, we are going to be further behind. sec. chow was here last week. i reiterated to her how important i think in infrastructure package has to include a broadband package in the underserved areas. i'm sure you know what i can do to the development of areas that have been on development and what it can do for healthcare, education and other aspects of people's quality of life. i look forward to working with you in this area and learning from you on the best ways to get to that broader and bigger elimination of the digital divide that exists.
>> thank you very much. >> lastly, i mentioned, i was glad to see in your remarks you talked about noah and how important it is, no i have a large and significant presence in west virginia, and i think i can reasonably state it was probably an earmark so it's still there and doing well and it's the primary backup for all of noah's emergency contingency operations. it is key to making sure, for instance, the go 16 satellite that was just launched, this facility serves as a backup facility for the mission. we still have capacity to grow so we are hoping no, because i have confidence in our abilities now, will work with us in west virginia to grow that footprint and you users. we are growing a technology quarter down through the middle of the state to try to work with that.
i want to work with you and hopefully we can visit those facilities together. >> from everything i have heard, no is quite happy with the relationship they have with the local community. >> that's great. the fbi is right down the street so maybe they have to be happy. thank you very much. i think i might be the last one, oh no, i forgot senator inhofe. i look forward to working with you. >> thank you. >> i enjoyed the visit we had in my office and i will make mine a lot quicker than most of them. i do apologize, the reason for all of us being late is in my case, we have our oklahoma attorney general who has been nominated to be director of the epa and i have more than just a casual interest in that. in fact, the last four members here are late because they were
at that hearing. it's the best that we can do. let me mention one thing, way back when nafta was passed, in our delegation of seven members from oklahoma, i was, i was the only one who voted against it. i would just like to be drawn into the loop as you make progress on changes you may like to make so we will be aware of that. perhaps we can participate as well. >> i believe there is a consultative process provided in the tpa regulations and therefore there will be at least that level of consultation. >> good. i talked to also about taiwan being the close friend and ally of the united states, our ninth largest trading partner, that's very significant. we can further strengthen the u.s. taiwan relationship by engaging in direct bilateral trade agreements. these negotiations would need to
address taiwan's current ban on importing pork containing a food additive. the chairman of this committee has talked about his concerned about some of the things we want to do with taiwan. secretary, would you consider prioritizing the united states trade relationship with taiwan and consider laying the groundwork for a direct bilateral negotiation. >> as you know, that is a very complex issue because of the one china, to china policies. i think there we would need some guidance from the president as to what direction he wishes to go. >> and that's the very reason i worded it the way i did. just consider it. at my office, you were were kind enough to give me quite a bit of time. i have had a very close relationship with africa might
have made 144 african 44 afton country visits. i am concerned about at africa and our lack of good relationship that we've had historically. when we did our national defense act, i put an amendment on their title the africa free trade initiative act that was passed that was now a part of the bill that was going to take care of our needs. a step in the right direction. there are nations eager to engage in direct bilateral negotiations on trade with the u.s. and i would hope that you would work with me to focus u.s. trade efforts in africa. >> it is almost impossible to imagine ignoring such a large continent with such rapid growth to it, with such strategic importance and potentially such
economic importance so clearly there is a role for us to play with africa and i think one of the concerns that we should all share is that china has been all over the map in africa, building high schools, building soccer playing field and all kind of things. they are gobbling up natural resources as well. nature abhors a vacuum and we've let a vacuum be created there. there is a counter billing force that will fill it and that is not us. >> that is a beautiful response. i appreciate that very much. i might add that china doesn't even use the labor in these projects. anyway, i look forward to supporting your confirmation and thank you very much for being willing to do that. >> thank you senator. >> thank you senator inhofe. i think last up on the first round is senator marquis. they both laughed time on the clock. i think that's the first time
that happened today. we must be winding down. >> thank you very much. mr. ross, we are in the world of the internet of things. there's the internet that is built into the appliances which we use, the machines which we use, the audio automobiles, the suv, suv, everything is part of the world of the internet of things. iot isn't just going to stand for internet of things, it's going to stand for internet of threats to the security, to the privacy of all americans, as this technology is built into every device. as we move forward, we have to think at the same time about cyber security. we have to think about privacy and what are the protections which we are going to give to americans so their privacy and security is not constantly
subject to compromise. could you tell the committee what your views are on that issue and what you would recommend that we do in order to protect americans. >> we have had some direct, i've had direct experience with it. as you know we've invested in a number of small and medium-sized banks around the country and even they are subject to cyber attacks from all over the place. some are just from hackers who simply seem to want to prove they can do it, but others are evil ones trying to steal people's identities, identities, trying to steal people's money, all kinds of things so it certainly is a serious problem and it's the unfortunate flipside of interconnectedness and that's how do you balance interconnectedness and two-way communication are multiple way everything with protecting
people. i think we need to be extremely vigilant and keep developing new and better systems because the people who have bad intent are certainly trying to develop new and better ways to break in. >> i have introduced legislation which is essentially a cyber labeling programming that would just say two industries of the united states, you have to label devices in terms of how secure they are, from being asked and having privacy compromise. what you think about that idea, and don't you think on a voluntary basis that is something we could ask of american injury to adopt is a practice. >> i am quite sure american industry is becoming more and more sensitized to the problem. there is no company i know of, of any size whatsoever that hasn't been having these threats
ranging from electric utilities to every other kind of endeavor. i think everyone appreciates the problem. what's the solution whether one-size-fits-all, i think it's a more complicated issue and one that needs thorough investigation. >> i appreciate that, but the one problem is that there are many companies that will never want to invest in cyber security protections. that is where the problem will be created and where the vulnerability will be created. i look forward to working with you on the. senator fisher and i have introduced the federal incentive act which offered new incentives for agencies to relinquish under utilized spectrum. i know senator cruise just asked whether we should incentivize
federal agencies to vacate or share spectrum they don't need. would you commit to working with senator fisher and i so we can find a way of moving forward legislation that does create incentives for the federal agencies to free up the spectrum that the private sector could use. >> i think it probably would need to be a legislative solution because it's clear to me that commerce does not have the power to do it on its own. to the degree that there is going to be an incentive given, i think think it would absolutely have to be legislative. >> bedford massachusetts is the highest grossing fishing port in the united states. which actions would you support to ensure that seafood brought to the market is legally caught and sustainable? >> i think that's very, very important. for one thing, in terms terms of the domestic catch, clearly the objective should be the maximum
sustainable yield. that, as a starting principle, but also, a lot of the imports that come in are produced under conditions that would not be tolerable in the united states, and i think that needs to be dealt with. it needs to be dealt with also at the port level. my understanding is that if a shipment of food comes in for whatever reason and it's rejected at a given port, all that happens is that vessel diverts to another port and hopes to get the same food in. since only 2% of the car goes ever inspected, that means they have a 98% 98% chance to get away with it the second time and meanwhile, the food is a couple of days older and perhaps a couple days worst condition. i think we need to deal with it at a whole series of levels.
>> thank you. >> thank you senator mercury. again, i would echo what's been echo we are headed toward 50 billion to 2020. senator blumenthal wanted to ask additional questions. >> i have just a few questions. as you know, one aspect of the very broad and very responsibilities that you would have if confirmed pertain to fighting boycotts of american companies that in effect refused to do business with companies, with countries. israel is one where action has been taken. your department has the authority which is tasked with
prohibiting businesses with the u.s. president from boycotting countries like israel or at the request of a foreign government. in 2015 i wrote to the congress and was joined by a number of colleagues including several on the committee. we wrote in response to a number of claims in which travelers with israeli passports were denied and we wrote to the united states department of transportation which agreed the incidents wanted further inquiry. the department of commerce deflected our inquiry, providing little information or concern. that raises for me a very important overall issue, standing up to efforts to boycott israel or any other country in these kinds of
business dealings. i'm asking you to commit to make this issue a priority and agree to enforce the anti- boycott laws to the fullest extent of your authority. we are talking about existing laws that need enforcement. >> i believe the president-elect has made clear his pro israel attitude, and i would certainly do my part to uphold the law. >> thank you. >> i would like to ask also about cyber security, following up on the very helpful comments you've just made. as you well know the nation is under cyber attack everyday from the russians, chinese, north koreans. in this very room where the armed services committee meets and holds hearings, we have heard chilling and staggering accounts about the extent and
magnitude of cyber warfare. would you agree this nation has to develop better policy to deter and punish the russians and other countries that currently are attacking us every day and interfering with our economic system, threatening our economic network, our electronic grid, our transportation system as well as our military defense. >> i absolutely do senator blumenthal. i think the most terrifying form of where fair would be if there was some simultaneous cyber attack on our grid on the banking system and transportation. that would be quite a devastating thing and yet in theory without some real protective measures that could happen. >> we should send the russians
or any other countries that would threaten us that way an unmistakable message that such an attack will be met by an aggressive, effective response. >> i think we don't have very much choice because the danger is both large and eminent. >> eminent is also frightening because so much of our nation depends on the interconnection between different sectors of the economy and our private sector needs to be given impetus to do better. >> yes and ice said in my discussion with you or perhaps senator markey that we talked about the situation where a fellow had a generator in his house in case the power went off, but the generator was interconnected, or was on natural gas which presumably
would also get cut off so partial prophylactics are not a very good solution in this area. we need things that are all embracing and quite thorough. >> would you agree to me that the deterrence against this kind of attack should include measures not only in the cyber domain it also economic stations if necessary and foreign-exchange sanctions. >> i think what we need is an overall coordinated policy to dual with the cyber problem but it gets into a lot of departments that go well beyond commerce as you are aware. >> i fully agree that commerce can play and should play an important role. >> i promise you, we are on it. >> one last question, i will be introducing a measure that would prohibit look-alike toy guns
which can cause tragedy, as you may be familiar with the tragedies that have occurred around the country where police in tense situations and counter young people with look-alike toy guns that they mistake for real weapons and the result is the police respond to using their weapons and people may be injured or killed. the measure that i will introduce will strengthen the protections against those kind of look-alike or toy guns. i am asking for your support because the secretary of commerce along with the commissioner of consumer protection, the cpsc, would have responsibilities for developing
regulation. we are asking for your support to ensure that toy look-alike or imitation firearms are not allowed to enter commerce unless they are made abundantly clear to be toy guns. will you commit to supporting such legislation. >> i look forward to reading the legislation and discussing it with you. >> you agree in principle this kind of protection is necessary. >> i think anything that prevents people from being killed or injured unnecessarily is a good idea, but i would would have to look at the actual draft registration. >> in the course of your investment or other endeavors, have you ever done any work on smart guns. >> no, sir, what is that. >> guns that may be limited to firing or use if they have the biometric kind --
>> i've heard of it but i've never seen them in action so i don't really have a very well-formed opinion of them. >> i look forward to talking to you about this topic. i am out of time and you've been very patient because you do have jurisdiction over the national institute of standards and technology which could play a part in developing standard and technology for smart done. >> developing standards for any innovative process is obviously a very critical function and one that the department takes quite seriously. >> i hope you will take this one seriously. i know you will. >> i will senator. >> senator sullivan. >> thank you mr. ross. i know you heard a number of us are moving between committees for other confirmation hearings so if i ask a question you very answered, please be with me. i very much appreciated your focus on economic growth where
you're talking about energy. as you know in alaska we have a lot of it and we need to produce more of it we are very much looking forward to having an executive branch that wants to help us, not stop us like the obama administration, rolling back unnecessary regulations, infrastructure and trade, and i think on the issue of trade, i know you've answered a couple questions on it but as you and i discussed, i believe the trump administration will be the first administration in u.s. history to come in to office with trade promotion authority, and a number of us supported that in part because president obama had two years of it but we were hoping the next president would be a republican and have four years of it. that has happened. the administration doesn't have to spend 1 ounce of political capital and that's usually hard
to get over the goal line. can you just talk a little bit about your view on bilateral trade, priorities, but also there have been reports in the press about some kind of 35% tariff. that would seem to me to be about as anti- growth as possible. i know you mentioned in some of your results smoot-hawley, but really take advantage of what's in an enormous opportunity to help american exports. >> tpa is an important tool because what he gives his relative assurance to the party with whom you are negotiating that you can deliver. any negotiation is handicapped if you're not sure the other guy can deliver on what has been negotiated.
it's a big help in that regard. there are, as you know, some consultative steps that are required. these would be would be between the president and the congress on tpa, and i am quite sure that if he uses it, the president-elect will adhere to those requirements. those are good and useful components of the trade process. in terms of the 35% and some of the other statements, i think the president has done a wonderful job preconditioning the other countries with whom we will be negotiating, the change is coming. the peso didn't go down 35% on accident, even the canadian dollar has gotten somewhat weaker, also not an accident. i think he has done some of the
work already that we need to do in order to get better trade deals, because when you start out with the adverse party understanding that he or she will have to make concessions, that's a pretty good background for any negotiation to begin. i am very grateful that he has made this task a little bit easier by alerting everybody that changes coming. >> with 35% tariffs, without the progrowth or not. >> i think the progrowth thing is stimulating exports much more than just curtailing imports, but tariffs, countervailing duty for people dumping is essential because there are inappropriate and illegal trade practices being performed, and if you don't really punish them, you will never modify their
behavior. there is certainly a role for it there. >> let me ask a related question, when you are talking about trade tools, i know there's been a lot of focus on china, that's in the area of reciprocity. right now, as you know, there are stories and it's happening, they they have two large investment funds were there buying up strategic companies in western europe, trying in the united states, some are strategic and some are important, they are looking at the movie industry and hollywood and chip manufacturers. i think it's common knowledge that if our companies wanted to go to china and by up the big movie industry or ship manufacture or a company that is strategic, the answer would certainly be no. >> right.
>> in the wto, their obsession did not have a reciprocity requirement with regard to investment. however, do you think it would be in the interest of the united states, and it's a debatable topic, a number a number of us are looking at legislation to maybe include investment reciprocity as part of the process. you think that would be wise or do you think that would undermine the vitality of the united states by restricting investment, even though there is clearly no reciprocity going on right now between the number one and number two economies in the world, and in my view, it is an unlevel playing field. china can do it and they're doing it. if we wanted to go over and do it, we couldn't. how. how do we deal with that? >> i think reciprocity is an important concept in trade agreements and there are other
important concepts as well. another is simultaneously of concession. we have tried to make our concessions up front and the other party makes their concessions later. the problem is, later sometimes doesn't come because when you have weak enforcement provisions and you very major concessions a little bit hard to unscramble the egg. i think reciprocity is important going forward i think simultaneity is an important concept going forward. i think, as i've mentioned while you were out of the hearing, the concept of an automatic re-examination after a period of time to find out what worked, what didn't work and what should we fix, i think there are a number of these conceptual issues that have not been present in prior trade agreements, but i would hope, if
confirmed i could could contribute toward designing a model trade agreement where we would introduce into it certain principles that would have to be in any agreement. i think it's a huge mistake to start out each time with a blank page from ground zero. it makes it take longer, it makes it harder to negotiate. the best negotiating tool is to be able to tell someone i can't change this, this is official policy, you know it is, we have it in ten other deals, were not going to give you anything different. that's a much better position, in my opinion, than starting out my opinion, then starting out with a blank slate. >> thank you. >> mr. chairman matt have an opportunity to ask one more question. >> thank you. >> mr. ross, i wanted to talk just a little bit about the infrastructure and i think you will see a number of senate colleagues on both sides of the
aisle be supportive of doing more with infrastructure. as we talked about one element i think a number of ses critical when we move forward on a large scale infrastructure initiative is fixing the federal government broken permanent ink. on average it takes six years. we had an hearing on airport infrastructure. it took the seattle airport 15 years to get the federal permits. in alaska it took shall seven years to get the federal government's permission to drill one exploration wellin 100 feet of water. it is a broken system. if we have an infrastructure package that's in the hundreds of billions, without dramatic overhaul, i fear it is going to be money that can't be deployed.
would you agree to work with us on not only focusing on the financing of infrastructure, but fixing a broken permitting system. this country used to build big things and now we can't permit a bridge inside half a decade. >> it is an issue. i think that's why there weren't so many shovel ready projects when president obama got money for infrastructure. it's not just on big projects. in some parts of this country, if you want to put a porta potty on a well site you have to get a permit and it takes weeks to do that. that's not even drilling a hole. it's not invasive, it's not anything. i think we've gotten a little permit nazi.
>> i look forward to you your speedy confirmation. >> that is a good line of questioning. i know i have found the answers and responses on some of the trade issues to be reassuring. i think there are a lot of folks who were spooked when they hear rhetoric surrounding 35% tariff and that sort of thing. i think you have given good insights into how that might be interpreted today. senator nelson has a couple cleanup questions and then we can probably get you out of here shortly. >> you have certainly seen by the questions today, and the breath of the subjects covered by the commerce committee, the intense interest you have comported yourself quite well. you have been very detailed and noninvasive in your answers and
that is appreciated, and albeit the length of this hearing, let me assure you this hearing is a piece of cake compared to some of the other nominees that are going through the process of the constitutionally required advise and consent. your wife hillary has been most patient back there and has not looked around the room. she has been very attentive. my compliments to her as well. just for a couple cleanup things here, i want to insert in the record, mr. chairman, a letter by ten scientists, many, many of
whom are professors at florida university. they are concerned about our state being so fragile when it comes to sealevel rise. i would quote one paragraph in this letter addressed to you. like you climate scientists are facing a distressing situation as we study the projected impact of sealevel rise. however, we remain optimistic that our challenges can be resolved with american ingenuity, entrepreneurship, strategy and new technology. >> without objective we will included in the record. >> that sounds quite a reasonable approach. >> from the center of environmental information,
marking some of the measurements with regard to consecutive years of record warmth on the globe, and i think that's constructive for us to have from noah without objection. ceo senator blumenthal asked about your attitude toward that and i think you covered that. i would finally appeal to you as a floridian who lives on the coast that there is not only a tourist industry which is an $85 billion a year industry in florida, almost a million jobs connected with tourism, much of which depends on the very attractive and pristine beaches that we have, we learned a
valuable lesson in the deepwater horizon oil spill. when that oil did not get to all of our beaches, but instead had gotten to pensacola beach which was covered up, some oil on destin beaches, as well as tar balls as far east as panama city. what it did, it shut down the tourist season for one entire year on the gulf coast. had that spill been at a time when the loop current that comes off the western end of cuba and loops into the gulf of mexico and then turned south and goes around the florida keys and becomes the gulf stream that hugs the coast, not only at
miami but at your residence in west palm beach, all the way up to fort pierce, before it takes off further out into the atlantic from the coast, have that spill, or any future spill got into the loop current, we would have that effect on the east coast of florida and the resulting debacle with regard to our tourism industry. now, there is one other reason of why this is so important to us, and you and i have not had a chance to talk about this. the largest training and testing area for the united states unitary in the world is the gulf coast off of florida. it is the testing and training range and thus the extent of activities that not only eglin
air force base, but also tyndall air force base at panama city. i have two letters from two republican secretaries of defense saying we simply cannot have oil drilling activities, that it is incompatible with the testing and training of some of our most sophisticated weapons. when you combine that with the fact that the geology shows there is very little oil off of florida, the oil is off of louisiana where all the sediments came down the mississippi. >> and alaska. >> i'm talking about the gulf of mexico right now. i won't get into the bering sea and the north slope and all of that. i'm tending to florida, you tend
to alaska. [laughter] that the effects would be devastating, so much so that my colleague, republican former senator, senator mel martinez, joined with me for all of the reasons that i've stated and we put in law off-limits until the year 2022, the gulf of mexico. that is in law. their idea is drill baby drill. this senator is not objecting to drilling if it's in the right places, but for all the reasons
that i have stated, i felt it incumbent for me to bring it up to you since you will be, obviously, by virtue of your testimony, you will be a very, very influential voice in the cabinet, and i hope in the white house. with that, mr. chairman, thank you for the extent to which your mind and posteriors have endured almost four hours. >> thank you senator nelson. yes, this has been a lengthy hearing, but a very productive one in terms of responses generated and the substance of the discussion. there has been a wide reign of questions posed from members of this committee who represent very different areas of the country, but the range of the issues this committee has jurisdiction over is such that
it requires a good amount of knowledge on behalf of our nominee and we certainly appreciate the way in which she has stepped up to that challenge and responded to our questions. i have one last question and will let you get out of here but i think it's the only subject that hasn't been covered today or at least not much, and that is, mr. ross, in 20121st net was established as an independent authority to implement the nationwide broadband network dedicated to first responders. as first net makes progress, and it has made progress, it still faces a good number of challenges. i want to emphasize that it is an independent authority and if you will be committed to being engaged on the progress of first net and inform this committee if
you see any ways, fraud or abuse within that program should you be confirmed. >> i certainly support the concept of first net. i gathered the rest some controversy in some states about it. i gather there have been some technical issues. i'm obviously not yet conversant with them, but the idea of giving the first responders all the tools that can be useful has to be the right direction to go. to the degree that there are issues, i will do my best if confirmed to try to figure out how to overcome the issues. >> thank you for bringing your expertise and solving difficult circumstances to bear on this issue as well. i believe that's it. given our hope to confirm mr. ross as soon as possible, we
will keep the hearing record open until 12:30 pm tomorrow. during this time senators are asked to submit any additional questions for the record, and upon receipt we would ask our nominee to submit written answers to the committee as soon as possible so we can get about the process of scheduling you and get you out of here for a vote. i think members of the committee and mr. ross for serving our country and for those who came with you today and your wife hillary for your patience. it's a long hearing but it's an important one. with that this hearing is adjourned. >> thank you. [inaudible conversation]
what is your reaction to that, should that be disqualifying for nominee. >> without knowing the particulars of that, which we don't, and the question here, our nominee has data on taxes and i think these are steps taken by the law and that's certainly something members of the committee -- i think he was
very forthcoming about his disclosure. i don't know the particulars of the issue to say one way or the other. >> question about nafta. his statements are very much in line with what mr. trump has said but that isn't necessarily consistent with what the republicans generally talk about with trade. how do you feel about how he talks about things like redoing trade agreements on a regular basis and redoing nafta right away. >> i thought what he expressed was he was very open. [inaudible] it seems to me he has an interest and i think it's based upon his experience.
there are a lot of companies in this country that are victims of unfair trade practices by other countries and it is worthwhile on and on ongoing basis to look at those trade agreements. i don't think there was anything said today that anyone will have much of an issue with. he was very open. [inaudible] >> as i pointed out, i have been concerned based on some of the other things that have come out throughout the course of the campaign and from the administration on trade issues, specifically a 35% tariff is one example. i think there are circumstances where there were statements made that very much appear, as you know, a state like mine depends
heavily on it. we are in export state but i thought he did a really good job talking about enforcing the law, examining a on a recurring basis what's working and what's not. i was comfortable with the way he positioned himself. >> would there be tariffs on china and mexico as a result of this administration. >> when were negotiating we want to go in with a good. [inaudible] some of the statements that were made that other countries are put on notice and alert them to the fact that it's not business as usual. they think he will look to robust enforcement and i think people would generally agree with that.
as i said, industries in this country have been taken advantage of because other countries have been abided by the rules of trade that we follow, and we don't sometimes enforce our trade agreements or enforce our laws. [inaudible] >> i suspect that would be conditioned by direct federal spending. they talked about three different tears, one being. [inaudible] i think he was pretty clear especially when we asked about rural infrastructure projects that would be interpreted in a different way. i think what works in new york may not work in south dakota and i think he expressed an openness to taking a look at that.
there would have to be some flexibility contained within that package and how will you finance other areas of the country were in may not have revenue. >> so there will be no tariff on mexico? you said he shed some light on it but it seemed that he was noncommittal. >> he may not have been noncommittal in terms of specifically coming out and saying he wanted some sort of tariff or anything like that, but i think what he did say is he was willing to re-examine these agreements and he has been upfront about that, but i didn't take away from it at all. he was pro- export and pro- trade. he knows if he wants the economy
to grow we have to export. [inaudible] speemac@of that was really good. i thought that was something that got covered pretty well by a lot of members of the committee and his responses were consistent with what we want to see have happened. i think we have to find ways ways to share and reallocate. the spectrum issue is relevant, particularly if you looking at other things. we have to figure out ways. [inaudible] i thought his answer for hearing like this, which sometimes tends to be. [inaudible] he was generally substantive on
a lot of issues. i thought on that particular issue he demonstrated not only an understanding of the need but a willingness and commitment to pursue it. [inaudible] >> i thought he was pretty straightforward. senator nelson worked on those issues pretty hard and i thought his answers about letting noah and other agencies that are involved on that issue do the science, i thought he responded pretty well to that. >> when will they do a confirmation vote. >> i would like to get that scheduled as quickly as possible. we have to allow little bit of time for responding to get back and see if there are senate discharge or objections. if we can do that we should be
able to get him on the schedule. i imagine we will do a markup schedule for next week, but it would be nice to do as many of these on friday. i imagine most the friday votes will be national security. >> do you have a sense, they didn't seem to have a lot of fire. they asked very detailed questions but senator nelson said compared to some of the other hearings it was fairly straightforward. did you expect any democratic opposition to him. >> i hope not. i felt like at least my sense of the sentiment of the committee coming out of here was that people had good questions and they were substantive and they gave substantive answers and i didn't sense anyone coming out
of here other than this is somebody. [inaudible] i would be surprised if there weren't enough votes. >> let me go back to the. [inaudible] >> the take away is that you were reassured because he gave a framework for how the administration will function, what you're looking at, they're not going to be putting in jim pointing fingers. >> i felt that he recognizes the importance and for our economy to growing it back up to that rate, he mentioned that several times in response to questions that we have to have trade. i also thought he understand and was empathetic to people and by trade that's unfair or by not
>> confirmation hearings continue today for a the donald trump and cabinet nominee. "the new york times" treasury nominee failed to disuse -- as close $100 million of assets. and he picks it -- defends his foreclosure actions. u.s. news and rolls report shows the senate finance committee saying chairman hatch uh criticism consist of a stupid arguments. here's the exchange between senator roberts and the top democrat. >> senator i have a pill hear you might want to take before the second round.