Reps Call for Comprehensive Trade Agreements

In a sign of overwhelming support for expanded U.S. trade opportunities, more than two-thirds of House freshmen signed a letter urging President Barack Obama to expeditiously move forward free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea.

Spearheaded in large part by Rep. Rick Berg (R-N.D.), the letter stressed the immediate need for the passage of these free trade agreements: “Our three pending agreements have languished, while our partners have aggressively pursued negotiations that exclude the U.S. and put American workers at a competitive disadvantage,” the letter states. “The time has come to put rhetoric into action.”

The letter—signed by 67 House freshmen—sends a clear message to the President the importance of passing the three pending trade agreements without delay, and the critical role that these agreements play in creating good-paying U.S. jobs. The letter goes on to state: “We stand ready to work with you to ensure that new opportunities are created for our farmers, manufacturers, service providers and workers by passing the three pending trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea within the next six months.”

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) applauded the House freshmen’s commitment to expanding U.S. trade, stating: “The letter from 67 freshmen members shows their commitment to a pro-growth agenda. Republicans are ready to work with the President on a comprehensive trade agenda to create real and sustained private sector job creation. Passing the three pending trade agreements is the essential first step.”

The successful passage of free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea holds numerous benefits for the U.S. economy. The U.S. International Trade Commission estimates that implementation of the three pending trade agreements would increase U.S. exports by at least $13 billion, add $10 billion to U.S. GDP and, using the President’s own measure, could create 250,000 American jobs.

The signed copy of the letter can be found here.