U.S. Rep. Ron Kind today voted to support the comprehensive trade package that included the three pending bilateral trade agreements and the long-awaited reauthorization of Trade Adjustment Assistance. Businesses both large and small in western Wisconsin and across the country benefit as the agreements create new opportunities to sell goods to millions of customers abroad.
"It's time for us to get back in the game," said Rep. Kind. "The agreements break down unfair trade barriers and create new opportunities for American businesses and family farmers to sell goods and services to millions of customers in foreign markets, ensuring our economic competitiveness in a global economy. A robust and aggressive trade agenda will help get us back on track creating the good paying jobs that we desperately need right now."
The negotiated agreements, improved by the Obama Administration, help level the playing field for American businesses and farmers. They include enforceable rules to better protect our goods, ensure accountability and fairness, and protect workers' rights, enabling our businesses sell more of their goods to new customers across the globe. The agreements not only lead to business growth here at home but by fostering honest, open relationships with key trading partners and strategic allies, strengthen our national security as well.
Trade is not just for multinational corporations, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, small to medium sized businesses make up 97 percent of U.S. exporters and account for nearly a third of all exports. And as demand grows for American goods and services abroad, American exporters will grow, innovate and hire here at home. The International Trade Commission estimates that the Korea free trade agreement alone could create up to 3,743 jobs in Wisconsin.
"The elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers in Korea, Colombia, and Panama is critical to helping us level the playing field for our exports in those growing markets," said Jeff Rageth, Vice President of 3M Public Affairs. "Korea is the fourth largest export market for 3M, at $410 million. Colombia and Panama are also important markets, with $32 million and $10 million in sales in 2010 respectively. Passage of the agreements will lower the effective duty rate on our products, eliminating millions in duty barriers to 3M's U.S. manufactured products. The trade agreements will help boost U.S. exports to and engagement in these markets, thereby helping to maintain and grow jobs and investments for 3M at home."
"Trane is pleased to see that the House of Representatives today approved the Free Trade Agreements with Colombia, Korea and Panama," said Brad Tacheny, General Manager at Trane. "We normally export about 50 percent of the products manufactured in La Crosse, so anything that reduces the import tariff in the countries to which we ship chillers is welcomed. We thank Congressman Kind and the entire House for supporting these important initiatives."
"These three trade agreements will be a boon for U.S. pork producers and for the U.S. economy and jobs," said Doug Wolf, a Lancaster, Wis. producer and President of the National Pork Producers council. "When they are fully implemented, they will add more than $11 to the price pork producers receive for each hog marketed and help generate more than 10,000 pork industry jobs, including 95 in Wisconsin and 34 of those in the 3rd Congressional District. America's pork producers are grateful to Congressman Kind for his support of these important trade agreements."
"Exports are an important part of U.S. and Wisconsin cranberry sales, increasing from less than 10 percent of production to 25 percent in recent years," said Tom Lochner, Executive Director of the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association. "The cranberry growers in Wisconsin stand to benefit from the passage of the free trade agreements, which will lower the high Korean tariffs we currently face, allowing our growers to increase U.S. cranberry product exports and be competitive in these new markets."
"Robust and open international trade is vital to our business, our employees and our communities," said Tom Linebarger, President and Chief Operating Officer of Cummins Inc. "We exported nearly $250 million in aftertreatment products from our operations in Wisconsin in 2010 and these free trade agreements will expand our opportunities in Panama, Colombia and Korea. During the past year, we have added more than 1,800 jobs in the U.S., demonstrating that an American company can add jobs at home while competing globally."
"We at the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation are extremely pleased with Congressman Kind for voting to pass the three Free Trade Agreements," said Bill Bruins, President of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau. "As a Wisconsin dairy farmer and President of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, farmers and Wisconsin's economy will directly benefit from these agreements through job creation and increased demand for Wisconsin products. The opportunity for new and expanded market share is vital for Wisconsin's agricultural economy to continue growing. "
"Free and open international trade is critical to our nation's economy," said Edgar Huber, President of Lands' End. "The trade agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama are important steps that will help create and sustain jobs in the United States and we applaud Congressman Kind for his support of these agreements and for his leadership on trade issues."