Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the following statement today on passage by the House of Representatives and the Senate of three trade agreements expected to support tens-of-thousands of American jobs and trade adjustment assistance for American workers:
"We are pleased that both Houses of Congress acted swiftly to support tens-of-thousands of American jobs today by ratifying trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, as well as trade adjustment assistance to help train workers for the 21st century economy. For American agriculture, passage of these agreements means over $2.3 billion in additional exports, supporting nearly 20,000 jobs here at home. Passage of the agreements also levels the playing field and secures markets for America's farmers, ranchers, growers and producers. Immediately upon implementation of these agreements, the majority of American products exported to Korea, Colombia and Panama will become duty-free. Swift action by Congress also helped us to maintain an advantage on competitors striking their own trade deals with these nations.
"The trade agreements will also strengthen what has been a bright spot in the American economy. With record agricultural exports supporting more than a million jobs here at home, passage of these deals will contribute to a positive U.S. trade balance, create jobs, and provide new income opportunities for our nation's agricultural producers, small businesses, and rural communities."