Congressman Wally Herger (R-CA) issued a statement after the House Ways and Means Committee on which he serves passed the three pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea with bipartisan support. The agreements will substantially reduce tariffs and non-tariff barriers that hold back U.S. products entering these markets, boosting U.S. exports by a projected $13 billion and creating an estimated 250,000 jobs. The free-trade agreement with Korea will expand sales of California-grown fruits, vegetables and other crops. Likewise, the agreement with Colombia will open up new markets to California farmers and ranchers, including those producing livestock, fiber, oilseeds, vegetables, fruits and grains. California dairy farmers, leaders of the national dairy industry, stand to benefit significantly from the agreement with Panama. The full House of Representatives is expected to vote on the agreements next week:
"The bipartisan votes at the Ways and Means Committee for the Colombia, Panama, and South Korea trade agreements show that we are finally approaching the finish line in getting them signed into law. By leveling the playing field, these agreements will create numerous new and improved opportunities for American workers and businesses and create an estimated 250,000 jobs here at home--growth that our economy desperately needs. It is deeply unfortunate that it has taken several years to get to this moment, especially considering that the world has not waited to move their own economies forward as we prolonged passage of these agreements. As a member of the Trade Subcommittee and its former Ranking Member, I have worked to make these agreements become a reality and I am very pleased that they are expected to go to the House floor next week with the anticipation that they will take effect shortly thereafter. Our economy can't afford to wait any longer."