On March 15th the U.S. - Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will go into effect. This means that all tariffs on U.S. exports to Korea will begin to disappear. This is good for American jobs and it is good for Texas. As the tariffs vanish, 30,000 jobs will be created in Texas and our state’s exports will increase by $11 billion a year. Nationally, 250,000 jobs are expected to be created. While I am very pleased that one free trade agreement is moving forward, two other important trade agreements seem to have been stalled.
Congress approved the Colombia and Panama free trade agreements in October 2011. Approving these agreements was an important step, but to make them work, the Administration must take action.
While Administration officials have said they want these free trade agreements in place, they have been vague about a timeline for implementation. More than four months have passed, which is an unusually long time to wait. For example, in the time since our free trade agreement with Colombia was signed into law, Canada passed its own FTA with Colombia and has already started the implementation phase. This means that the United States is sitting on the sidelines while our neighbors are creating opportunities today.
The new U.S. agreements with Colombia and Panama represent $3 billion more in exports for businesses in Texas from the Port of Houston to Fort Worth. 50,000 jobs in the 12th district directly rely on the products we sell abroad and that number can only grow if we have more opportunities and new markets. Trade with our friends and our allies is an important part of our economy today and it is an important part of our future. Now is not the time to drag our feet if we want to move forward.
Member of Congress