On Monday, President Obama transmitted to Congress three free trade agreements that will make it easier for American companies to sell their products in South Korea, Colombia, and Panama, and provide a major boost to our exports. These agreements will support tens of thousands of jobs across the country for workers making products stamped “Made in America”.
Swift Congressional approval of these agreements will help American companies gain greater access to these markets and sell more of their products and services abroad, including high technology and intellectual property intensive products.
These trade agreements, along with bipartisan agreement on the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, represent a balanced approach to trade that not only opens up new opportunities for U.S. businesses but also provides support for American workers whose jobs have been affected by global competition.
Boosted by President Obama’s National Export Initiative, exports have been leading the economic recovery. Exports now support nearly 10 million American jobs and accounted for more than 13 percent of U.S. economic output in the first quarter of 2011.
Along with the American Jobs Act, these free trade agreements are something that Congress can do right away in a bipartisan fashion that will have a measurable effect on jobs and the American economy. While the Administration continues to lay the groundwork for long term American competitiveness, we should seize every opportunity to help American workers and entrepreneurs compete internationally right away.
Quentin Palfrey is Senior Adviser to the CTO for Jobs and Competitiveness