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United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this agreement and thank the gentleman for yielding.

Foreign trade is vital to the United States economy and to my home State of New Jersey. Since 1945, the world's markets have become progressively more open thanks in large part to leadership exhibited by our own country. Our Nation's citizens have benefited. Ambassador Susan Schwab, our United States Trade Representative, indicates that U.S. annual incomes are $1 trillion higher because of these trade promotion agreements, which equates to $9,000 per year for the average American family. In just the last decade, such free trade agreements have helped raise our Nation's gross domestic product by nearly 40 percent and add more than 16 million jobs.

Additionally, trade creates more and better jobs. Manufactured exports support over one in six manufacturing jobs, an estimated 5.2 million jobs in the United States. Agricultural exports are responsible for 926,000 jobs. Interestingly enough, U.S. jobs supported by exports pay American workers more, an estimated 13 to 18 percent above the national average.

In my home State, international trade is a driving force in our economy. In 2006, merchandise exports from New Jersey were valued at $27 billion, which places us ninth among all 50 States and represents a $10 billion increase since 2002. Such increases benefit not just New Jersey's manufacturing sector, but also positively impact transportation, logistics and warehouse activity across our State. It is also worth noting that in 2006, New Jersey exported $53 million in goods to Peru.

Indeed, a recent report presented to the New Jersey Commerce and Economic Growth Commission states, ``New Jersey has the greatest opportunity of any State to prosper in the new global age due to its location within the global and continental grid and its systems-wide resources.''

Beyond the economic benefits, trade builds important international partnerships that encourage security and prosperity abroad. This agreement, while relatively small in comparison to others, as well as other pending agreements with Colombia and Panama, present vital opportunities to expand our economic freedom, fight narco-terrorism, expand export opportunities, and build strategic alliances with key allies in the Americas.

In addition, this agreement would eliminate tariffs for U.S. companies, expand trade in areas such as textiles and agriculture and give our own financial services companies more market access. Failure to execute this pact and others like it would not bode well for our ability to take advantage of vast global markets. Indeed, as others have said, over 95 percent of the world's consumers are outside the United States.

But more importantly, limiting foreign trade counters America's long-held belief in free enterprise and open markets. We can compete as a nation in the global marketplace if we reject protectionism and continue to remove barriers to free and fair trade with countries around the world. If not, we will only have our own politics and shortsightedness to blame for the outcome.

I encourage my colleagues to join me in supporting this agreement.


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