Saying free trade helps New Jersey companies create jobs and expand exports, Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-07) last night voted to approve three separate Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.
"The American People want their elected officials to cast aside partisanship and work together to enact pro-growth policies that have broad, bipartisan support," said Lance. "Today we are witnessing a cooperative effort of the White House and Congress to produce a series of trade agreements that will create jobs by making it easier for American farmers, companies and manufacturers to sell their products in Panama and Colombia and South Korea. These trade agreements are particularly important to New Jersey where our large concentration of agriculture, financial services, life sciences and telecommunications sectors will thrive in these new, open markets."
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, New Jersey trade exports support 76,629 jobs in the state-- including 20,682 jobs in the Seventh Congressional District alone. Local business leaders praised the congressional action saying the three trade agreements will allow local companies to grow and hire more workers.
"Hunterdon County businesses and businesses across New Jersey will certainly benefit from these Free Trade Agreements," said Chris Phelan, president of the Hunterdon County Chamber of Commerce. "In these challenging economic times anything that helps businesses grow and expand is a win-win for everyone."
"Free trade agreements have always stimulated economic activity and have been beneficial to New Jersey. And I would expect free trade agreements with Columbia, Panama and South Korea will produce similar results," said James Coyle, the president of the Gateway Chamber of Commerce in Union County. "Free trade agreements are especially important during a recession, where free trade can help boost economic activity and ultimately lead toward job creation."
"Somerset County, NJ is home to numerous multi-national corporations, and the Somerset County Business Partnership, as representatives of our business community, recognizes the global environment in which businesses operate. We support efforts to improve the competitiveness of trade among countries and are hopeful that congressional action on Free Trade Agreements will have a positive impact on job creation and private sector economic investment both here and across the United States," said John Maddocks, the Vice President of Economic Development for the Somerset Business Partnership.
Lance said several New Jersey companies like AT&T, Chubb, Merck, J&J, Verizon, Prudential and others -- have all voiced support for Congress to approve the three FTAs.
"It is my sincere hope that today's action to approve these free trade agreements is the beginning of a bipartisan effort to help spur economic growth and create jobs," Lance concluded.