We're pleased to see that the U.S. Trade Representative's office has elevated the profile of the three pending free agreemeents on its homepage -- http://www.ustr.gov -- which we take to be reaffirmation of the White House's intention to move forward with the agreements with Colombia, Panama and Korea once Congress returns from its August recess. Not only that, but the USTR is now demanding action on the agreements and Trade Adjustment Assistance under the rubric, "Jobs for America's Working Families."
It's agreed, then: Trade is a jobs plans!
The need for action became even more apparent on Monday when the Canada-Colombia Free Trade agreement went into effect, giving the U.S.'s northern neighbor a major edge for its exports to Colombia, with 48 million people the second largest market in South America. And notice how Canada's trade minister, Ed Fast, promoted the agreement: It's a jobs plan!
"Our government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Harper, received a strong mandate to implement an ambitious job-creating free trade plan that will benefit Canadian workers and their families,” said Minister Fast. “This free trade agreement with Colombia is a key part of our government’s plan to open new markets for Canadian workers, farmers and businesses in all regions of Canada.”
The ministry identified key sectors that stand to benefit from increased exports: agriculture (wheat, legumes, barley), paper products, heavy equipment, investment, mining, oil exploration and printing. The Canadian Wheat Board hailed the agreement, which drop tariffs from 15 percent to 0.
"Western Canadian farmers, through the CWB, have developed an important market for Prairie wheat and barley in Colombia. The implementation of this agreement gives Prairie farmers a competitive edge,” [CWB CEO Ian] White said. “We will now be on a level playing field with Argentina into the fast-growing Colombian market,” White said, noting the U.S. has yet to ratify their free-trade agreement with Colombia, but is expected to do so some time this fall.
House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) issued a joint statement Monday using the Canada-Colombia deal aspeg to push the pending U.S. trade deals. And notice how Rep. Brady promoted the agreements: They're a jobs plan!
Our pending trade agreements will create U.S. jobs. Because of inexcusable delay in Washington by those who fail to understand this fundamental fact, American workers and exporters now face the prospect of falling even further behind. Already, Colombia’s largest cookie and cracker company, which accounts for over half of Colombia’s wheat imports, has announced it will switch its U.S. wheat orders to Canadian wheat. We must get back in the game immediately by passing all three of our trade agreements before we lose any more jobs. We stand ready to do so as soon as the President submits them to Congress.”
President Obama omitted that key step, sending the agreements to Congress, in his remarks Monday in Cannon Falls, Minn.
[We've] put together a package that is going to allow us to start selling some Chevys and some Fords to Korea so that -- we don’t mind having Hyundais and Kias here, but we want some “Made in America” stuff in other countries. (Applause.) That’s something that Congress could do right now. .
First things first. As Business Roundtable President John Engler said last month:"The White House should now submit the three trade agreements to Congress. After years of delay, it’s time to stop talking and start voting. America’s employers and workers can’t wait any longer."
BRT has a variety of background materials, including a map on the benefits on the pending FTAs, posted on trade here.
Thanks to Kevin Madden, Jonathan Karl and Stephanie Cutter for talking about crisis communications this week at BRT. http://t.co/cmakALRJS8
Trade supports 1 in 5 U.S. jobs. Time for Trade Promotion Authority. http://t.co/OP1zBl4IJe
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