Free Trade Agreements: Essential for U.S. Economic and National Security

October 4, 2011
Cargo Ship Sails Through Panama Canal

The President submitted the pending free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama to Congress on October 3, 2011. These agreements are essential for our economic and national security. Now more than ever, America's ability to create jobs at home depends on our ability to export goods and services to the world. Today, exports support nearly 10 million American jobs, and they are well paying jobs. Americans whose jobs depend on trade earn 13 to 18 percent more than the national average.

Of the three trade agreements, the one with Korea is by far the largest. The U.S.-Korea trade agreement will increase our economic output by more than our last nine free trade agreements combined. It also represents a new, cutting-edge trade deal that raises the standard for fair competition as it opens new markets. The Agreement will eliminate tariffs on 95 percent of U.S. consumer and industrial exports within five years, and ensures that almost two-thirds of current U.S. agricultural exports will enter Korea duty-free immediately. Its tariff reductions alone could increase annual exports of American goods by more than $10 billion, and U.S exports expected under the Agreement will support more than 70,000 American jobs.

The U.S.-Korea Agreement contains state of the art provisions to help protect and enforce intellectual property rights, reduce red tape, and eliminate regulatory barriers to U.S. exports. The Agreement also includes the highest standards for protecting labor rights, carrying out environmental agreements, and ensuring that key domestic labor and environmental laws are enforced. This agreement will create a level playing field for American companies.

The Colombia-U.S. Free Trade Agreement will allow our businesses to sell goods in Colombia duty-free, the same way Colombian goods have entered the United States for many years. Under the Agreement, tariffs on 80 percent of U.S. consumer and industrial exports will be eliminated immediately. American agricultural exports will enjoy substantial new improvements in access to Colombia's market. Once the Agreement enters into force, almost 70 percent of current U.S. agricultural exports will be able to enter Colombia duty-free immediately.

The Colombia-U.S. Free Trade Agreement contains important new guarantees on labor and human rights. It embodies the highest standards for protecting labor rights, carrying out covered environmental agreements, and ensuring key domestic labor and environmental laws are enforced. Colombia has already made significant reforms related to the obligations it will have under the labor chapter, and must successfully implement key elements of an agreed-upon Action Plan before the Agreement goes into force.

Finally, the Free Trade Agreement with Panama will immediately eliminate tariffs on over 87 percent of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial goods and on more than half of U.S. exports of agricultural goods, providing access for American exports to one of Latin America's fastest growing economies.

These three agreements must be passed in conjunction with Trade Adjustment Assistance, which supports Americans who need training and other services when their jobs are adversely affected by trade. As we expand access to other markets abroad, we need to ensure that American workers are provided the tools needed to take advantage of these opportunities and are not marginalized in the global economy.

Without these trade agreements, the U.S. economy will be left behind. Other countries are passing trade agreements with these three countries. The European Union's free trade agreement with Korea went into force in July, and has already seriously disadvantaged U.S. exporters in the Korean market. Canada's agreement with Colombia is impacting U.S. wheat exports by putting them at a 40 percent price disadvantage.

We know that free trade agreements work. In state after state, we see increases in exports following implementation of these agreements. Passing these deals is important to our economic recovery, but also essential for national security reasons. These nations are three important partners in strategically vital areas. Countries everywhere are watching to see whether America will deliver for its friends and allies, and Americans at home are looking for jobs. Passage of these agreements will advance our economic, foreign policy and national security interests.

You can learn more about the Free Trade Agreements here.

Related Content: President Obama, Secretary Clinton Issue Statements on Korea, Colombia, and Panama Trade Agreements



October 4, 2011

W.W. writes:

A second major source of the decline of dictatorial rhetoric following the spring of 1933 was the disenchantment of American business with the Italian economic model. Much conservative business support for a dictator or a 'semi-dictator' had been related to the idea of establishing a corporative state in the United States.... The last gasp of support for Mussolini's solution to the problems of labor and management may have been the publication of Fortune magazine's special issue on the fascist state in July 1934. Business approval of government intervention in capital-labor relations had begun to wear off as the business community began to actually experience it under the NRA; it discovered that such an arrangement, at least in its American incarnation, meant state involvement in business, not self-government by wealth

Among the early Roosevelt fascist measures was the National Industry Recovery Act (NRA) of June 16, 1933.... These ideas were first suggested by Gerald Swope (of the General Electric Company)... [and] the United States Chamber of Commerce. During the campaign of 1932, Henry I. Harriman, president of that body, urged that I agree to support these proposals, informing me that Mr. Roosevelt had agreed to do so. I tried to show him that this stuff was pure fascism; that it was a remaking of Mussolini's 'corporate state' and refused to agree to any of it. He informed me that in view of my attitude, the business world would support Roosevelt with money and influence. That for the most part proved true."

will try to give you new and strange names for what we are doing. Sometimes they will call it 'Fascism,' sometimes 'Communism,' sometimes 'Regimentation,' sometimes 'Socialism.' But, in so doing, they are trying to make very complex and theoretical something that is really very simple and very practical.... Plausible self-seekers and theoretical die-hards will tell you of the loss of individual liberty. Answer this question out of the facts of your own life. Have you lost any of your rights or liberty or constitutional freedom of action and choice?The tremendous power of organization [Root had said] has combined great aggregations of capital in enormous industrial establishments... so great in the mass that each individual concerned in them is quite helpless by himself.... The old reliance upon the free action of individual wills appears quite inadequate.... The intervention of that organized control we call government seems necessary.... Men may differ as to the particular form of governmental activity with respect to industry or business, but nearly all are agreed that private enterprise in times such as these cannot be left without assistance and without reasonable safeguards lest it destroy not only itself but also our process of civilization

October 4, 2011

W.W. writes:

Roosevelt's National Recovery Act (NRA) attempted to cartelize the American economy just as Mussolini had cartelized Italy's. Under the NRA Roosevelt established industry-wide boards with the power to set and enforce prices, wages, and other terms of employment, production, and distribution for all companies in an industry. Through the Agricultural Adjustment Act the government exercised similar control over farmers. Interestingly, Mussolini viewed Roosevelt's New Deal as "boldly... interventionist in the field of economics In classical capitalism, what has been called the 'night-watchman' state, government's role in the economy is simply to prevent force or fraud from disrupting the autonomous operation of the free market. The market is trusted to provide. Under corporatism, it is not, instead being systematically manipulated to deliver goods to political constituencies


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