Congressman Howard L. Berman (CA-28), Ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement after voting in support of the Free Trade Agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama.
"Free Trade Agreements expand the reach of American exports and that creates jobs here at home in Los Angeles. Year after year, California is the top exporting state across the nation, particularly in the manufacturing, technology, entertainment, and agricultural sectors.
"According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, for every $1 billion in U.S. exports, 6,000 manufacturing jobs are supported here at home. Here in California, exports translate into more than a million high-paying jobs.
"I voted for the Free Trade Agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama because exports are America's secret weapon for creating new jobs, economic stability, and business growth here at home. California businesses and workers will benefit from the expanded access to foreign markets and the significant intellectual property rights protections provided in these agreements.
"The pattern of violence against labor leaders in Colombia continues to be deeply troubling, and I support President Obama's decision to implement the agreement only when Colombia makes good on its pledge to implement greater labor protections. The Colombia agreement includes the strongest protections for workers ever included in a free trade agreement. These provisions and the Labor Action Plan take an important step toward positive changes to Colombia's labor policies and enforcement mechanisms. In fact, the provisions protecting workers rights will be enforceable by the same means as the commercial provisions in this agreement."