U.S. Representative Judy Biggert (R-IL-13th) today issued the following statement after the House approved the long-awaited free trade agreements (FTAs) with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea:
"This is a huge victory for jobs in the United States. Exports are one of the fundamental keys to reinvigorating economic growth, and these agreements will provide a dramatic boost to U.S. manufacturers by eliminating tariffs on American goods and services. Colombia already sends goods into the U.S. duty-free, Korea is one of our most valuable trading partners, and Panama's strategic importance to our global competiveness has been clear since Teddy Roosevelt opened the canal. Tearing down trade barriers for U.S. exports in these countries will immediately create new markets for Illinois, especially in my suburban district where over 64,000 people are employed by sending goods and services abroad. In fact, Illinois is sixth in the nation in terms of exports, and job seekers here will be among the first to benefit.
"The U.S. has a trade surplus in manufactured goods with all 17 of our current free trade partners, and these agreements will add three more. I'm very pleased that the House has acted swiftly to level the playing field for U.S. businesses and send these agreements to the Senate with the bipartisan support they deserve."
Editor's Note: A long-time trade advocate, Biggert served as Co-Chair of the whip team that secured passage in the House of the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Act in 2004. Since its enactment, exports to Chile from Illinois have increased by 400 percent.