Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, apparently has altered his past unqualified support for the proposed Fair Trade Agreement between the United States and Canada because he wants more protection for the local uranium industry.
In a recent campaign appearance in Kanab, Hansen said he would vote for the FTA whether or not any protective language was in it for the uranium industry because he believes in free trade.But in a telephone interview this week, Hansen said that unless language to protect local industry is added to the FTA legislation, "I'll probably oppose it." He said he is "trying to protect local industry" as well as promote fair trade.
The Fair Trade Agreement would allow Canadian uranium, which is government-subsidized, to be shipped into the United States to compete against the non-subsidized American uranium. U.S. uranium producers believe that creates an unfair advantage for the Canadians.
Hansen's congressional district includes Kane County, where many residents are employees of Energy Fuels Nuclear Inc., the largest U.S. uranium producer.
Hansen said that last week the White House agreed to use protective language in the FTA enabling act to protect the uranium industry. Hansen went on to say, "There's free trade and there's fair trade. Fair trade is the way it should happen."
Hansen said, "It's pretty well done, and I think we've got everything that Kane County and the uranium producers wanted."