Release Date: Aug 04, 2011Contact: 888-249-NEWS
U.S. Chamber Urges Congress to Act on Senate’s ‘Path Forward’ for Trade Agreements
Donohue Points Out That ‘Time is Short, and Further Delays are Unacceptable’
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce called for Congress to act immediately after the August recess on the pending trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell announced a “path forward” on the deals.
“These trade agreements are one of the best ways to create jobs in America now,” said Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber. “The Chamber remains committed to using every tool at our disposal to round up the votes and pass these deals.”
“But time is short, and further delays are unacceptable,” he pointed out “We must not see any more roadblocks throw in front of these deals during the short legislative session that remains. While our economic recovery is stalling, delaying action on these job-creating trade agreements is absolutely inexcusable.”
Reinforcing the need for Congress to act urgently, Donohue pointed out that in just the first two weeks after the European Union-Korea Free Trade Agreement entered into force on July 1, European exports to Korea rose 16% while U.S. market share in Korea fell. Ninety percent of Korean tariffs on European imports have already been eliminated.
The Canada-Colombia FTA will enter into force on August 15, leaving American businesses further behind in Colombia. A U.S. Chamber study has warned that delays on the pending trade agreements has put 380,000 American jobs at risk.
“We appreciate the hard work of Senators Reid and McConnell to find a path forward, and it’s plain there is broad bipartisan support for Congress to act immediately these agreements,” said Donohue. “We also appreciate the bipartisan efforts to strike a deal on Trade Adjustment Assistance. The compromise on TAA is respectful of the difficult fiscal circumstances facing our country, and we believe it deserves support.” The Chamber also supports renewal of the Andean Trade Preference Act and the Generalized System of Preferences.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.