USTR NEWS ALERT!

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk Calls for Swift Passage of Trade Agreements
President Obama Formally Submitted Legislation for S. Korea, Colombia, Panama Agreements Today
Washington, D.C. – United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk today called for swift congressional action on legislation for pending trade agreements between the United States and South Korea, Colombia, and Panama, along with renewal of Trade Adjustment Assistance reforms and expired trade preference programs. President Barack Obama formally submitted the legislation for the three pending trade agreements to Congress today.

“Growing American exports to South Korea, Colombia, and Panama will support tens of thousands of jobs here at home. We must take every opportunity to get America back to work, and Congress should pass these agreements without delay,” said Ambassador Kirk. “The House should also support jobs for American workers by supporting targeted assistance and training for those who may be displaced by trade. Taken together, the pending trade agreements and Trade Adjustment Assistance advance a balanced trade agenda that opens new markets for our exporters and new opportunities for America’s working families.” 

Under Trade Promotion Authority already granted by Congress, the legislation for the trade agreements may not be amended, and Congress has 90 days to hold up-or-down votes on each. Changes to the legislation would make it subject to normal rules and procedures, including amendment and filibuster.

In 2010 and 2011, the Obama Administration worked with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama to successfully address outstanding issues related to each of the three agreements. In particular, the Administration secured: greater U.S. access to the South Korean auto market; significantly increased labor rights and worker protections in Colombia; and enhanced tax transparency and labor rights in Panama. The Administration has been clear that once approved by Congress, agreements will enter into force only if trading partners are meeting their commitments; for instance, Colombia must successfully implement key elements of the agreed Action Plan Related to Labor Rights before the U.S.-Colombia trade agreement will enter into force. Colombia has met all milestones to date as specified in the Action Plan, including enactment of several far-reaching reforms.

Legislation for the U.S.-Colombia trade agreement also includes a renewal of the Andean Trade Preferences Act. ATPA was enacted in December 1991 to help Andean countries in their fight against drug production and trafficking by expanding their economic alternatives.

Late last month, the Senate approved legislation to renew the Generalized System of Preferences and also to streamline and save costs on a renewal of Trade Adjustment Assistance reforms. The Senate has sent that legislation to the House, where the Speaker has committed to its consideration in tandem with the pending trade agreements.

The Generalized System of Preferences expired in December 2010. It promotes economic growth in the developing world by providing preferential duty-free entry for products from designated beneficiary countries and territories; GSP also supports American jobs and improves American competitiveness as many American businesses use GSP imports as inputs to manufacture goods in the United States.

TAA provides training and support for American workers who are negatively affected by trade and is traditionally in place as trade agreements pass. It is designed to help workers, firms, farmers and fishermen transition to alternative employment. The bipartisan compromise negotiated by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) is consistent with the goals of the 2009 law that improved the scope and effectiveness of the program – for instance, covering Americans employed in the services sector in addition to U.S. manufacturing workers. TAA is an essential component of President Obama’s balanced trade agenda.

 

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THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary

IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 3, 2011

Statement from President Obama on the Submission of the Korea, Colombia, and Panama Trade Agreements
“The series of trade agreements I am submitting to Congress today will make it easier for American companies to sell their products in South Korea, Colombia, and Panama and provide a major boost to our exports. These agreements will support tens of thousands of jobs across the country for workers making products stamped with three proud words: Made in America. We’ve worked hard to strengthen these agreements to get the best possible deal for American workers and businesses, and I call on Congress to pass them without delay, along with the bipartisan agreement on Trade Adjustment Assistance that will help workers whose jobs have been affected by global competition.”

A fact sheet on the U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement is available HERE.

A fact sheet on the U.S.-Panama Trade Agreement is available HERE.

A fact sheet on the U.S.-Colombia Trade Agreement is available HERE.

A fact sheet on Trade Adjustment Assistance is available HERE.

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About Alexander Gordin
An international merchant banking professional with over twenty years of business operating and advisory experience in the areas of export finance, international project finance, risk mitigation and cross-border business development. Clients include foreign governments, municipalities and state enterprises as well as Fortune 500 and small/medium enterprises. Strong entrepreneurial instincts, combined with leadership and strategic skills. Transactional and negotiations experience in over thirty five countries. Author of the highly acclaimed "Fluent in Foreign Business" book and creator of the "Fluent in OPIC", "Fluent in EXIM","Fluent In Foreign Franchising", "Fluent in FCPA",and "Fluent in USTDA" seminar/webinar series. Currently developing "Fluent In ......" seminars and publications. Co-author of the Fi3 Country Business Appeal Indices. Extensive international business development and project finance transaction experience in healthcare, aerospace, ICT, conventional and alternative energy infrastructure, distribution and hospitality industries. Experience managing international public and private corporations. Co-Founded three companies abroad. Strong Emerging and Frontier Market expertise. Published and featured in numerous publications including: The Wall Street Journal, Knowledge@Wharton, NBC.com, The Chicago Tribune, Industry Week, Industry Today, Business Finance, Wharton Magazine Blog, NY Enterprise Report, Success magazine, Kyiv Post and on a number of radio and television programs including: Voice of America, CNBC, CNNfn, and Bloomberg. Frequent speaker on strategy, cross-border finance and international business development. Executive MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. B.S. in Management of Information Systems from the Polytechnic Institute of NYU. Specialties Strategic Management Advisory, Export Finance, International Project Finance & Risk Management, Cross-border Negotiations, Structured Finance transactions, Senior Government and Corporate officials liason

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