Late last night, Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) was appointed to the Asia and the Pacific Subcommittee of the House International Relations Committee. 

“This is a very exciting subcommittee appointment for both me and Washington state,” said Smith.  “Our state has strong ties with Asia, both culturally and in terms of trade, and American policy in Asia faces growing challenges.  The region is both the largest overseas market for American goods and our largest source of merchandise imports, but the combination of recent economic crises, policy changes and America’s war on terrorism have left the region vulnerable to economic nationalism, Pan-Asian thinking and resentment of the United States.  These developments pose great risks to America’s position in East Asia and to our vital interest in peace in the region.  We must move carefully.” 

“I believe that we must pursue the expansion of our contacts in Asia, rather than removing or downsizing our presence in the region,” continued Smith.  “We must use all the tools at our disposal - trade, aid, exchange programs, participation in WTO and other regional and international organizations - to engage East Asia in productive dialogues towards progress on human rights issues and our national security.  It’s vitally important, and I am looking forward to working on this task in my new assignment.”

The House International Relations Committee deals with oversight and legislation relating the deployment and use of United States Armed Forces; enforcement of United Nations or other international sanctions; the Agency for International Development; State and Defense Department activities involving arms transfers and sales, and arms export licenses; international law; promotion of democracy; international law enforcement issues, including terrorism and narcotics control programs and activities; and other matters relating to international economic policy and trade.  The Asia and Pacific Subcommittee of the House International Relations Committee is charged with the oversight of all U.S. interests in East Asia.   For a complete description of the Committee and Subcommittee’s activities, visit http://www.house.gov/international_relations/.

For the text of a speech outlining Smith’s vision of a modern foreign policy in the post cold-war world, visit http://www.house.gov/apps/list/press/wa09_smith/021029pr.html.

For the press release announcing Smith’s appointment to the House International Relations Committee, visit http://www.house.gov/apps/list/press/wa09_smith/030131pr.html.