Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson today voted for three trade agreements that will greatly increase U.S. exports to three key countries, providing a much needed boost to the U.S. economy. The House of Representatives approved the U.S.--South Korea Free Trade Agreement, the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement, and the U.S.--Panama Trade Promotion Agreement on strongly bipartisan votes.
"These long-awaited trade agreements are an important boon to our economy," said Congressman Simpson. "Inaction on trade agreements over the past few years has left American exporters struggling to compete. These agreements help to level the playing field and play an important role in stimulating needed economic growth."
According to the American Farm Bureau, passage of the three trade agreements represents nearly $2.5 billion in new agricultural exports. Implementing the agreements will create new markets for U.S. products, reduce the trade deficit, increase exports for a variety of goods, and create an estimated tens of thousands of jobs across the country. The House also passed a three-year extension of Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), which provides compensation for those whose jobs have been eliminated because of trade. It greatly reduces the overall cost of the TAA program and eliminates it completely after 2014.
The Senate is expected to take up and pass all three agreements tonight.