* Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, at a time when millions of American families are struggling and so many people are looking for work, passage of the U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement should be a top priority for our government.
* It is time to grant American businesses and exporters barrier-free access to the world's 13th largest economy.
* The U.S. International Trade Commission estimates that it will increase our export of goods by at least $10 billion a year.
* That's not even counting the high-value services in which our country leads the world, which are now largely shut out of many areas of South Korea's economy.
* The Administration estimates that at least 70,000 jobs will result from the free trade agreement with South Korea alone.
* That means paychecks for 70,000 American families.
* The years of delay in sending this agreement to Congress since it was first signed in 2007 have put U.S. businesses at a severe disadvantage.
* Earlier this year, the European Union's free trade agreement with South Korea went into effect, giving their companies a major boost and resulting in lost sales for American companies and lost jobs here in the U.S.
* But there is more at stake than just increased exports.
* South Korea is a key U.S. ally in an unstable region of the world, where tens of thousands of U.S. troops stand on guard against aggression, and where U.S. interests are increasingly under threat from China and other countries.
* At a time when much of the world is waiting to see if the U.S. will retreat from its responsibilities, passage of this free trade agreement will serve as a clear demonstration of our enduring commitment to our ally South Korea and our determination to defend our interests throughout East Asia.
* I strongly urge my colleagues to vote for the U.S.-South Korea Free Trade agreement and for the creation of tens of thousands of jobs for the many Americans who desperately need them.