As I’ve said already tonight, I’m excited to be here. The U.S.-South Korea trade agreement is the most commercially significant trade agreement the United States has signed since I’ve been in Congress.
The delay in implementing this agreement has been felt across the country. If our exporters can’t compete because of high tariffs or non-tariff barriers, they can’t grow their businesses and put Americans back to work. That is why expanding opportunities for U.S. exporters and workers is such a critical part of putting our economy back on the right track and creating good-paying jobs.
For example, the average South Korean tariff for U.S. exporters is more than four times the average tariff that South Korean products face in the U.S. market. The agreement will address this imbalance.
The job-creating benefits of this agreement will be enjoyed broadly. For example, the American Farm Bureau estimates that U.S. farm exports to South Korea could increase by more than $1.8 billion. Moreover, 90% of all American companies exporting to South Korea are small and medium sized enterprises, and implementation will lead to an additional $2.8 billion in exports.
This boost to our ability to “Sell American” is essential if we are to achieve the Administration’s goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2014, which the President has said will create two million new jobs.
Today we’re taking a critical step to create U.S. jobs and reestablish American leadership. I hope that this is a good first step to restarting a robust U.S. trade agenda, with bipartisan support for opening new markets around the world for our goods and services. It’s coming not a day too soon.