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FREE TRADE DEALS, A GOOD DEAL FOR AMERICA
Supported passage of three trade deals that will spur U.S. economy and create jobs
Free trade provides smart, no-cost solutions. While Americans are faced with unemployment and the federal government continues to find ways to save money, these deals breathe life into job creation and sound fiscal policy.
Earlier this month, Congress took a bipartisan, bicameral bold step forward in approving three major Free Trade Agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia after years of delay. Together, the bills will create one quarter of a million jobs in the United States, spur our economic recovery and ensure our country remains competitive with the world in trade. To grow, we must participate fully in the global market and trade with our allies to become an export powerhouse.
My hometown of Laredo, Texas, which sits on the U.S.-Mexico border, has proven how trade can impact the local economy as the nation’s largest inland trade post and headquarters of the 6th largest trade port. Laredo is known as the trade corridor that carries goods from South and Central America into other areas of Texas, the United States and Canada. Today, trade supports over 50 million American jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Treasury. Not only are these deals creating jobs, but it is estimated the Free Trade Agreements will boost U.S. exports by $13 billion annually.
As a supporter of free trade policy and native of a trade-centric district, I founded the Congressional Pro-Trade Caucus in 2009 to assemble Democratic and Republican Members of Congress united by the belief that trade is the lifeblood of the global economy and that strong trade with democratic allies is a requirement for economic recovery and international partnerships.
Unemployed Americans need jobs and American businesses need to continue operations to stay afloat. These agreements support American jobs and businesses. The three trade deals will create over 250,000 U.S. jobs in industries like manufacturing, service sector and agriculture, according to the Administration. These agreements are critical to benefit U.S. small and mid-sized businesses, and more than 35,000 American businesses already export to South Korea, Panama, and Colombia. With the passage of these deals more businesses will have an opportunity to trade and expand their operations.
Panama Free Trade Agreement
This deal would remove barriers and charges to American goods entering Panama, expanding new export opportunities for American business. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative reports that over 87 percent of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial products to Panama will become duty-free immediately, with remaining tariffs phased out over ten years. This will lead to more jobs being created at home because industry in our country will have more capital to invest, grow and hire more employees.
Colombia Free Trade Agreement
This agreement would expand U.S. exports by more than $1.1 billion with the tariff reduction, according to the International Trade Commission. Should we fail to enact this trade agreement, the U.S. cotton exporters to Colombia would have to unnecessarily pay more than $14 million in tariffs for sending our goods.
South Korea Free Trade Agreement
This agreement will create 70,000 American jobs and grow U.S. exports by over $10 billion, the U.S. International Trade Commission indicates. The National Association of Manufactures says the U.S. Exports to South Korea would grow by more than one-third in the next few years.
The Free Trade Agreements, the U.S. – Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act, U.S. – Panama Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act, and U.S. – South Korea Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act, passed Congress on Oct. 12 and were signed into law by the President on October 21. Trade is a good deal for America.