Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the following statement on the submission of the Korea, Colombia and Panama trade agreements and the benefits to the U.S. agricultural economy:
"Congress must now take action on an important part of President Obama's jobs agenda: new trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea and trade adjustment assistance to help train workers for the 21st century economy. When approved, these agreements will clear the way for new American exports around the world, help create jobs and provide new income opportunities for our nation's agricultural producers, small businesses, and rural communities. For American agriculture, passage of these agreements means over $2.3 billion in additional exports, supporting nearly 20,000 jobs here at home.
"Congress should work swiftly to pass these trade agreements. Currently, Korea, Colombia and Panama have approved or are negotiating trade agreements with a host of other nations. Completing our agreements will level the playing field and secure markets for America's farmers, ranchers, growers and producers ahead of competitors in the global marketplace.
"Over the past two years, as the nation has rebounded from the worst recession in decades, American agriculture has shattered trade records and created jobs. And these agreements will build on that success, helping provide higher incomes for producers, more opportunities for small businesses owners and jobs for folks who package, ship, and market agricultural products. If we're going to get America working again, then these trade agreements are critical. We cannot afford to leave these jobs on the table."