International trade represents a growing segment of the American economy and is a major source of economic revenue for Arkansas. Over 1,900 Arkansas businesses sell their products overseas generating over $3.9 billion in revenue and 47,000 jobs every year. Over 75% of these Arkansas businesses are small and medium-size companies. I have worked hard to expand opportunities for all Arkansas businesses overseas through free trade agreements; but I believe we must do more to ensure a level playing field for Arkansas workers.
I believe we must do a better job enforcing existing trade agreements. Arkansas workers are the most efficient and productive in the world, but even they can't compete with countries using sweatshop labor at rock bottom prices. We must ensure that countries who sign free trade agreements with the United States live up to their end of the bargain through implementing responsible labor, health, and environmental regulations. When our partners fail to live up to their obligations, we should take swift action through the World Trade Organization.
Similarly, I believe we must do more for workers temporarily displaced by unfair trade practices. I strongly support and have cosponsored legislation introduced by Senator Max Baucus to update our antiquated Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) laws. I will continue to work hard to ensure this legislation that provides economic assistance to laid off workers becomes law. I remain dedicated to a responsible United States trade policy that opens new markets for domestic products while protecting American workers from unfair competition.