U.S. Chamber Hails Submission of Trade Accords to Congress
October 3, 2011
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce applauded the White House for transmitting the implementing bills for the trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama to Congress for a vote.
“America is finally getting back in the game,” said U.S. Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue.
“These agreements are about creating jobs and ensuring a level playing field for trade. As I promised nearly a year ago, the Chamber will pull out all of the stops to get the votes in Congress, where the agreements already enjoy bipartisan support.”
The trade accords will immediately eliminate tariffs on most U.S. exports to the three countries. Colombia currently collects $100 in tariffs on U.S. exports for every $1 the United States levies on Colombian goods, and a similar lopsidedness holds back U.S. exports to South Korea and Panama as well.
In addition to ensuring fairness and accountability, the agreements will open services markets and strengthen intellectual property rights.
“America’s long timeout on trade has been creating jobs — in other countries,” said Donohue. “While other nations clinch their own trade deals, American workers have been left to compete with one hand tied behind their backs.”
The European Union-Korea Free Trade Agreement and the Canada-Colombia FTA entered into force on July 1 and August 15, respectively. Korea has eliminated tariffs on more than 90% of EU goods, leading to increased sales and market share for European companies while U.S. market share has declined.
Similarly, U.S. farmers have lost more than $1 billion in sales due to delays in approving the trade agreement with Colombia. A U.S. Chamber study has warned that delays on the pending trade agreements have put 380,000 American jobs at risk.
“In addition, the Chamber supports the bipartisan compromise on TAA, which we believe is respectful of the difficult fiscal circumstances facing our country,” said Donohue.
The Chamber also supports renewal of the Generalized System of Preferences and the Andean Trade Preference Act.