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Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On The Need To Ratify U.S.-Chile Tax Treaty

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor on the importance of ratifying a tax treaty with Chile. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

For more than a decade, Congress has been working on an important tax treaty with Chile that holds important and long-term consequences for American businesses and American competitiveness on the world stage.

Right now, nations around the world are racing to source important materials like lithium—lithium is a key ingredient in everything from iPhones to EV batteries. Chile is one of the most important sources of these kinds of raw materials including lithium, and many US companies have spent years building business partnerships with Chile and grown their presence in that nation.

But these companies face a terrible problem: because of current policy, American companies face double taxation due in Chile and are at a huge disadvantage compared to other nations like China. We don’t want China to get this lithium. We need it.

So we have a taxation treaty at the ready that would remove this obstacle. It is very similar to the more than 60 other treaties we already have with nations around the world. This is nothing new. It is widely supported by voices across the political spectrum—the Biden administration on one hand, but the pro-business Chamber of Commerce on the other.

And here’s the amazing thing: The U.S.-Chile treaty was already reported out of committee last year. I think it was passed by voice vote, meaning unanimous support. It had overwhelming support. Unfortunately, it has to go through committee again because of the new Congress, but Democrats are 100% ready and eager to get this important treaty moving.

Republicans in the past always have long supported moving it forward too and I imagine most do, but right now this treaty has been delayed yet again because some want to add last minute changes to the text that risks undermining it altogether.

Again: there are some who want to introduce last minute changes to the treaty, even though this was reported by voice vote out of committee last year, was nearly added to [our end-of-year accomplishments alongside] the omnibus, and has been around close to ten years. 

Let me be clear: these last-minute changes could delay or even end any chance to getting this treaty done. It at least could force us to re-negotiate with other governments. And you know what a long, time consuming, difficult, fraught-with-peril process that is.

We should move forward and ratify this treaty with the agreed upon text without last minute changes. The effort has been more than a decade in the works and it’s time to finish the job. Again: if we want to give China advantage to get Chilean lithium instead of giving it to the United States—where we so desperately need it—that would be a disgrace and a shame. Moving this treaty quickly without any last minute changes is the way to solve that problem. So, please let’s move forward.

Both sides should come together to move forward quickly and without any more delay. It’s long enough.