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|Michelle Dimarob, or Sarah Swinehart (202) 226-4774|
Camp Sets Deadline for Moving the Three Pending Trade Agreements, But When Will the Administration Act?
Friday, February 11, 2011
Multiple media outlets this week reported on the call by Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) to move the three pending trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea by July 1, 2011. For example, the Washington Post reported on Camp’s call for action by the Administration, noting he commented that delayed action “severely disadvantages U.S. businesses who sell their products in these markets,” and “other countries are signing agreements that lower barriers for their exports and seize our opportunities."
Despite longstanding and increasingly urgent calls for action on all three agreements, the Administration has still made no meaningful commitment to act on Colombia and Panama. In fact, for more than two years, the Administration has not identified concrete outstanding issues and specific, reasonable steps to resolve such issues within a clear timeframe. In the meantime, we are losing opportunities to support much-needed jobs here in the United States.
“The Administration’s failure to define specific action items and a clear deadline for resolving any outstanding issues related to the pending trade agreements with Colombia and Panama is the most significant roadblock to advancing the rest of our trade agenda. The President’s continued unwillingness to outline a reasonable path forward to quickly move all three job-creating agreements suggests that trade is not a priority for his Administration. I want to move all three agreements by July 1. Without this commitment from the Administration, other trade measures – such as TAA and ATPA, which we sought to extend this week – are now in limbo, and American workers will suffer as a result.”
Senator Hatch echoed Camp this week on the need to quickly move the three pending trade agreements, stating, “The time for talk is over; now’s the time for immediate and meaningful action. I hope and expect the Administration to make specific progress and provide a clear and reasonable timetable for moving both of these agreements forward in the coming weeks.”
How not passing the three pending trade agreements is affecting U.S. workers and growth:
Statements from Job creators demonstrating the urgent need to act on all three trade agreements:
National Association of Manufacturers: “American workers benefit from our nation’s exports. Exports create jobs in American factories.…We need all 3 agreements. And we need them now. In fact, we needed them in 2007.”
GE: “GE supports the passage of all three pending free trade agreements. To promote U.S. global competitiveness, we encourage the Administration and Congress to immediately focus on passing these important market-opening agreements now and move to negotiate additional agreements.”