On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed three free trade agreements that will boost the economy and create hundreds of thousands of jobs. Increasing access to the markets of our trading partners means more places to sell our goods and services without American businesses having to pay duties and tariffs. It is important to understand how these trade agreements will impact our economy in Texas - especially in the 12th Congressional District.
Over the past decade, exports from Texas to Colombia, Panama and South Korea have grown substantially. Exports from Texas to Colombia alone have increased by 372 percent over the last ten years. Texas exported over $200 billion in goods to foreign markets in 2010. With the removal of tariffs, that amount will only grow. Our goods and services will be more affordable and more accessible to a combined 96 million customers in Colombia, Panama, and South Korea.
You might be surprised to know how much foreign trade supports our economy right here in the 12th Congressional District. Last year, businesses in our district exported $20.6 billion in goods to foreign markets. Over half of the goods sold were to countries that have a free trade agreement with the United States. This trade supports 45,869 jobs in our district alone. That makes up a large percentage of our work force.
Trade agreements are an important way Congress can help create jobs. Although these free trade agreements have been delayed for the last several years, I applaud their passage. It is an important way to grow our friendship with allies while creating more economic opportunities for all Americans.