The House Ways & Means Committee marked up legislation for the pending trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea this morning. This is the opening act of the closing chapter, so to speak, and we hope it will not be too long before President Obama is signing the agreements into law. Next up – the House will vote on the 3 agreements next Wednesday and send them to the Senate. Senator Reid has promised rapid action over on his side of the Capitol once he receives the bills.
Had anyone forecasted, in late January, that we’d have these long-languishing job-creating agreements completed – potentially by Halloween – the remark would have been met with derisive laughter. Colombia was signed in November 2006; Panama and Korea in June 2007. They have faced strong opposition, fueled by outrageous claims that they will hurt American jobs and the economy.
Nothing is further from the truth. In fact, lack of action on these agreements over the last 5 years is what has caused harm to our economic recovery and manufacturing jobs. Multiple studies produced by U.S. Government agencies, including the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) and the Commerce Department show these agreements will create as much as $13 billion in new exports, and tens of thousands of new jobs. Given manufactured goods are the majority of U.S. exports to Colombia, Panama and South Korea, these trade agreements are really manufacturing agreements. (continue reading…)