U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk recently discussed progress on Free-Trade Agreements with Korea, Panama and Colombia in an interview with Mike Adams, AgriTalk Radio host. “It’s time to move them,” Kirk said. “We’ve already lost enough market share.”
Kirk said he believes that an agreement has been made on a Trade Adjustment Assistance vote which will precede the vote on the FTA’s. President Obama is committed to passing the TAA which is designed to protect workers who lose their jobs due to increased foreign trade.
It is unclear if the three FTAs will be submitted to Congress individually or as a package. “Our hope is to get all three agreements voted on reasonably quickly,” said Kirk.
“Hopefully, we can get (the FTA’s) approved in September,” said Kirk. “The President is asking (Congress) for this to be one of the first matters they turn their attention to when they return.”
Earlier last week, Kirk addressed a Texas security conference where he estimated the value of the FTA’s currently stalled in Congress.“We are eager to move forward, because it is estimated that together these three agreements will increase U.S. gross domestic product by $12 billion in support of tens of thousands of additional American jobs.” Kirk said that is a conservative estimate, because many more jobs will also be supported by trade and investment.
“In fact, guaranteed access to the services markets of South Korea, Colombia, and Panama adds up to a combined total of $766 billion: South Korea – $580 billion, Colombia –$166 billion, Panama –$20.6 billion,” said Kirk. “Simply put, increased exports of U.S. services will support additional jobs here on our shores.”
Kirk said the more that the United States opens markets for U.S. producers to compete all around the world, the more jobs would result here at home. “That’s why we need to pass the trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, so we can secure the estimated $12 billion in additional GDP plus tens of thousands of jobs that are on the table.”
Source: AgriTalk, USTR