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June 25, 2008 

USA*Engage Honors Senator Hagel and Representaive Blumenauer

USA*Engage, a coalition that works to seek alternatives to unilateral U.S. foreign policy sanctions and to promote the benefits of U.S. engagement abroad, today held its annual luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC to honor Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) for their leadership on issues relating to U.S. diplomacy and global engagement. Senator Hagel and Representative Blumenauer each delivered remarks on the importance of the United States maintaining an open dialogue with the rest of the world.

Senator Hagel was honored by USA*Engage for his strong support of U.S. global engagement, free trade and his efforts to reform the way in which U.S. sanctions are administered. Senator Hagel was one of the original sponsors of the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (codified at 22 USC § 7201 et seq.) that authorized the licensed export and reexport of medicines, medical devices and agricultural products to countries subject to U.S. unilateral sanctions.

In his remarks, Senator Hagel said that "trade is not just an exchange of goods and merchandise. Trade is the only bridge into other nation’s culture and society. It is the one bridge that gets across the great chasm of differences; it is the one relevant and realistic option for countries to continue to grow and improve." He added that "we can fall prey to the narrowness of politics, but trade will overcome it. I believe free trade will be sustained."

USA*Engage honored Congressman Blumenauer for his commitment to a U.S. diplomacy, including his votes against new unilateral U.S. sanctions efforts against Cuba and Iran. Represenative Blumenauer has sought to promote humanitarian engagement abroad, and as a new member of the House Ways and Means Committee, has been a strong supporter of a bipartisan trade policy. Representative Blumenauer focused his remarks on the need for multilateral cooperation on a range of issues – from environmental protection and global poverty to international trade.

Jake Colvin, Director of USA*Engage, said "Senator Hagel and Congressman Blumenauer each take a thoughtful and nuanced approach to U.S. foreign policy and are champions of international engagement." He added that “their commitment to ensuring that the United States remains a respected diplomatic leader in the world is one reason we honor their public service today."

Editor's Note: Senator Hagel will be speaking tomorrow, June 26, on U.S. foreign and trade policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC. During his speech, Senator Hagel will examine the inventory of global challenges that the next president will inherit and the responsibilities of the presidential candidates to address these challenges.

6/26 Update: The text of Senator Hagel's speech, entitled “Memo to the Candidates" delivered today at the Brookings Institution can be found here. The speech contained the following discussion of trade issues:

Trade is a driving force for sustained economic prosperity and job creation both in the United States and throughout the world. Trade, however, is not a guarantee. The ongoing credit crisis and skyrocketing world food and energy prices are among the recent temptations for countries to restrict markets and veer toward protectionism that leads to dangerous insular thinking. These temptations must be resisted and the hard-earned lessons of history not forgotten. The United States must continue to press for a successful conclusion to the Doha Round of global trade negotiations. America’s leaders should stand behind our trade agreements and support the pending Free Trade Agreements with Colombia, South Korea and Panama as well as renewing Trade Promotion Authority for the next President.

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