Congressman Rivera applauded the passage of the long-pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea as the House of Representatives voted to approve all three agreements on Wednesday.
Congressman Rivera has been very active on the issue of free trade. He spearheaded an effort earlier this year that saw 67 freshman Members sign a letter encouraging President Barack Obama to take action on the trade deals. The Congressman also traveled to Colombia and Panama earlier this year as part of a Congressional Delegation.
"This day has been long in coming," Congressman Rivera said. "The approval of the free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea will open up new markets for American companies that will help job creators hire new employees and grow their businesses. Today we not only took a positive step for our economy, we took a positive step for our foreign policy. By expanding trade avenues with friends in Latin America and Asia, we sent a message that America stands with its allies.
"In an ever more globalized economy, free trade is integral to promoting economic growth. Free trade will create more American jobs and raises the standard of living in the United States and abroad. As the Representative with the largest Colombian-American population of any district in the United States, I feel a special connection to the Colombia Free Trade Agreement.
"Colombia is our best and strongest ally in Latin America and the oldest functioning democracy in the region. Their democracy has withstood terrorism and civil war and I have seen firsthand that the Colombian people are determined to be full partners in the global economy and they have shown great enthusiasm about trading with the United States.
"The Colombia Free Trade Agreement will create jobs in the United States, especially in South Florida. It will immediately boost U.S. exports to Colombia and U.S. GDP would increase by roughly $2.5 billion and exports by more than a billion dollars.
"After years of delay, I am proud that Republicans and Democrats in the House of the 112th Congress came together to approve the free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea."