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United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. COSTA. Madam Speaker, I rise in support of the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement, as well as the Panama and Colombia agreements before us today.

Economic growth depends upon a number of factors, including growing access to foreign markets. These agreements do that. Foreign goods enter our country under few restrictions, but around the world our products face product tariffs and other prohibitive barriers to trade. The current situation is neither free nor fair trade.

This changes that. The barriers are against our products. This reduces and eliminates those barriers.

The pending agreements will allow American products to better compete globally and drive job creation here at home. That's why I support these agreements.

Perhaps no industry stands to gain more than agriculture throughout America, and especially in California, the number one agricultural State in the Nation. Passage of these agreements with South Korea means American-grown raisins, asparagus, almonds, pistachios, and wine will benefit from immediate duty-free access to the world's 12th-largest economy. Many other crops, including citrus, will also benefit. Recognizing the agreement's potential to create over 70,000 American jobs, it's been endorsed by the United Auto Workers, United Food and Commercial Workers, and many of the agricultural trade associations.

With Panama, American exports will gain duty-free access to Latin America's fastest-growing economy. The agreement with Colombia will eliminate most barriers to trade for U.S. products entering Central and South America, its third-largest economy, and strengthen our ties with a key ally in that region.

Simply put, expanding access to emerging foreign markets will boost agricultural revenue and, in turn, help put Californians back to work.

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Mr. COSTA. But simply passing these agreements is not enough. We must build on the current and future administration's accountability to ensure these trade agreements are enforced. We cannot afford to sit on the sidelines while other countries forge their own pacts with emerging markets. Increased exports mean more jobs for here at home and for America.

I ask you to support these measures.

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