Dear Chairman Baucus and Ranking Member Hatch:
Business Roundtable strongly supports immediate action on the pending free trade agreements. We greatly appreciate all the bipartisan efforts that have put approval of the pending FTAs with Korea, Colombia and Panama within reach, but time has run out and action is needed now to bring these trade agreements to a vote.
Tomorrow, the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement will go into effect. European political leaders have succeeded in helping their manufacturers, service providers and farmers gain a big advantage over American companies, workers and farmers. This fact alone supports immediate action to pass the U.S.-Korea FTA, as well as equally important agreements with Colombia and Panama.
As American business leaders, the members of Business Roundtable know firsthand how important international trade agreements are to promoting economic growth and to maintaining and creating new jobs for American workers in large, medium and small businesses.
The pending FTAs will bring accountability and fairness to our trade with Korea, Colombia and Panama, allowing American companies, workers and farmers to sell more products and services in these important markets.
If the Congress fails to move the FTAs forward now, it will be rewarding our foreign competitors and undermining the competitiveness of American companies, workers and farmers. In addition to the EU-Korea FTA, the Canada-Colombia FTA will go into effect on August 15th. The United States can no longer afford to sit on the sidelines while our foreign competitors win the race for new exports and new jobs.
Business Roundtable has a long history of supporting Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), and supports the bipartisan efforts to reach a balanced and reasonable compromise on the substance of how to renew this important program. The current TAA proposal balances our national need to deal with critically important fiscal issues and the need to help American workers find new and productive jobs, and should be supported together with renewal of the Generalized System of Preferences and the Andean Trade Preference Act.
There is no longer any time for delay in moving America’s trade agenda forward. We urge you to support approval—without any amendments—of the Korea, Colombia and Panama trade agreements today.
C: The Members of the Senate Committee on Finance