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Public Statements

United States-Columbia Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. Speaker, this is just long overdue. This creates jobs. There is an issue that comes to the floor that has bipartisan support rarely these days. The Obama administration estimates this will create 250,000 new jobs. We agree. With respect to Colombia in particular, they have free access to our markets, but we don't have free access to theirs. This gives us a level and equal playing field.

Colombia is our strongest ally in the region. Colombia has done so much to help stop the proliferation of drugs coming into this country. They've helped us at the U.N. More importantly, they want to buy our products. Where I come from, Mr. Speaker, we make things and we grow things. Twenty percent of all the manufacturing jobs in Wisconsin require exports; $16.7 billion of our agricultural products in Wisconsin in 2009 were in exports, creating 200,000 jobs in Wisconsin alone. Ninety-five percent of the world's consumers, they're not in this country; they're in other countries. If you're standing still in trade, you're falling behind.

All our trading competitors are going around the world getting better agreements and better deals for their exporters, freezing us out. It's high time we pass these agreements to break down these barriers so that we can make and grow things in America and sell them overseas so we can create jobs. And that's exactly what these three agreements, especially Colombia, do; and I urge its passage.

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