Ron celebrates a 'sweet' victory with Portland chocolate makers

Ron met with several chocolate makers over Easter weekend in Portland to discuss his success closing a longstanding loophole that allowed imports of goods produced with forced or slave labor.

The amendment ending the practice, sponsored by Ron and Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown to the Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, earned praise from local, ethically sourced, artisan chocolate-makers Ranger Chocolate, Woodblock Chocolate and Tony’s Chocolonely, which has its North American headquarters in Portland.

“Not only do we enjoy these products, but we now have some new policies that ensure as we enjoy these wonderful sweets, we can help make the world a better place,” Ron said at a news conference with the trio of chocolatiers.

“Companies like these are ones that shouldn’t be held back in the marketplace because they are doing the right thing,” he said.

“We want to espouse the values that are important to Oregonians,” Ron said. “We are saying that no sweets should be tainted by the bitter legacy of slave or forced labor.”

As the senior Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, Ron told the chocolate makers he is committed to the fresh approach of “trade done right” creating more transparency and more enforcement of trade agreements on all fronts, including human rights.

In fact, the change in policy is already showing results. Just recently the Customs and Border Patrol blocked the import to the U.S. of Chinese soda ash suspected of being made with forced prison labor.

While discussing these policy changes with these local businesses, as an acknowledged chocolate aficionado, Ron also enjoyed sampling the offerings of all three chocolate makers.