Thompson Praises House Passage of Free Trade Agreements

Oct 12, 2011 Issues: Agriculture

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson tonight voted to support legislation implementing three pending free-trade agreements with Colombia (H.R. 3078), Panama (H.R. 3079), South Korea (H.R. 3080), and an extension of federal Trade Adjustment Assistance programs (H.R. 2832).  All four measures passed the U.S. House of Representatives with bipartisan support. 

“In times of economic uncertainty, it is imperative that we provide every opportunity possible for our economy to grow and expand. This includes acting on the three pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea, each of which will create economic benefits here at home and open new markets for our businesses,” said Rep. Thompson, a member of the House Agriculture Committee.

The trade agreements, initially negotiated by the Bush Administration, and now supported by the Obama Administration, would reduce a number of tariffs and duties currently affecting trade between the United States and the three countries, reduce barriers for services, and establish new labor and environmental enforcement standards. 

“While almost every industry in the U.S. can benefit from expanding exports, agriculture in particular prospers through new markets,” Rep. Thompson added. “The agreements will put Pennsylvania farmers in a better position to expand, create jobs, and bring much-needed income to communities across rural America, such as those residing in the 5th Congressional District.” 

On October 3, 2011, President Obama submitted the agreements to Congress. As Chairman of one of six House Agriculture subcommittees, Rep. Thompson delivered remarks from the House Floor in support of passage and praised the agreements’ benefits to American Agriculture. 

“Many agriculture products have encountered dramatic price fluctuations in recent years, particularly dairy, as a result of depressed exports,” stated Thompson. “These exports are increasingly important to Pennsylvania's agricultural and statewide economy.”

“All three agreements will benefit the Pennsylvania economy – and create new jobs – by immediately opening new access for Pennsylvania goods and services, and by establishing a level playing field in these countries for Pennsylvania workers and businesses to compete,” Thompson added.

The three agreements in total are expected to increase direct exports from Pennsylvania alone by $54.9 million per year. Eliminating tariffs and other barriers on many of Pennsylvania’s agricultural products going into these countries, the agreements will particularly increase trade for a range of Pennsylvania agriculture industries and numerous other economic sectors. 

Additional Information: 

United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act (H.R. 3078)The Colombia agreement represents a key market for the U.S. with an estimated $1.1 billion growth potential where 80% of U.S. exports of industrial / consumer goods would be duty-free immediately.

United States-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act (H.R. 3079)The Panama Agreement would give U.S. exporters immediate duty-free treatment on 88% of Panama’s tariff lines for manufactured goods and on over half of agriculture lines.

United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (H.R. 3080): The Korea agreement would give U.S. exporters immediate duty-free treatment on 80% of South Korea’s tariff lines and open up South Korea’s $560 billion services market to U.S. service-providers in key sectors.

Information from the House Agriculture Committee, click here.

Information from the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, click here