Congressman Peter Roskam (IL-06), Chief Deputy Whip, today issued the following statement after the House passed three pro-export Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea. Roskam has traveled to all three of these countries in support of these agreements:
"Today's passage of these pro-export agreements is a victory for our economy and American job creators. Millions of jobs across the U.S. depend on trade. Making it easier to sell our products abroad will open more markets for American companies, incentivize them to grow and hire, and in turn create more jobs here. American companies deserve to be on a level-playing field with our competitors.
"With nearly double-digit national unemployment, we need commonsense economic policies that remove barriers to private-sector job creation. I am heartened that both parties and the President are coming together in support of these no-cost job creating policies."
BACKGROUND: Roskam Has Played a Leading Role in Building Support For These Agreements
Congressman Roskam visited South Korea in 2010 to help build support for the South Korea FTA, coinciding with President Obama's visit for the G20.
Roskam launched the U.S. Korea FTA Working Group, a bipartisan effort to build support for the Korea FTA.
Nearly two years ago in 2009, Roskam visited Panama with then-Minority Leader John Boehner to help build support for the Panama FTA -- meeting with the Panamanian President and Vice President. Roskam urged Congress to pass the Panama FTA then, saying, "Panama is a close democratic ally and a prime potential American trade partner in a vital region."
In March 2008, Roskam visited Colombia to build support for the Colombia FTA -- meeting with then-Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. According to the Chicago Tribune, who spoke with Roskam while in Colombia: "Roskam says it is a key ally in 'a region where we need friends' -- and a potential boom export market for Illinois firms such as Caterpillar. 'This is a market of 44 million people,' he said. 'There are great export opportunities. This is a country that buys a tremendous amount of agricultural equipment.'"
Last week, the House Ways & Means Committee passed all three FTA's out of committee. Roskam voted for all three in the Committee. He recently applauded the White House for sending the long-stalled agreements to Congress.