Chamber of Business & Industry of Centre County President Attends Speech with South Korean President

October 13, 2011

Friend and colleague Vern Squier, President of the Chamber of Business & Industry of Centre County (CBICC), tonight joined me in attending a Joint Meeting of Congress with South Korean President, Lee Myung-bak. Before the Joint Session, which came one day after Congress passed a bill implementing the U.S.-Korean Free Trade Agreement, Vern and I discussed the importance of the agreement and its economic benefit for the Centre Region and the Commonwealth.  

The U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, initially negotiated by the Bush Administration, and now supported by the Obama Administration, phases out tariffs on more than 95 percent of industrial and consumer exports within five years, reduces barriers for services, and establishes new labor and environmental enforcement standards between the United States and South Korea.  According to estimates by the U.S. International Trade Commission, full implementation of the U.S.-Korea trade agreement is estimated to generate nearly 280,000 new jobs nationally, including 9,963 in Pennsylvania - which is a huge win for our region, state, and the country.  

President Obama is expected to sign the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, along with the U.S-Colombia and U.S.-Panama agreements, in the coming days. According to the South Korean foreign ministry, their government expects to approve its own bill on the agreement soon, enabling the trade pact to take effect on Jan. 1, 2012.

Thanks for attending tonight, Vern!