After years of delays in Washington, Congress has finally passed the job-creating free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.
Farmers and ranchers in Texas and across the country have waited far too long to reap the benefits of fewer trade barriers with our valuable international partners. According to USDA, passage of these agreements means more than $2.3 billion in additional agriculture exports, supporting nearly 20,000 jobs here at home.
The United States’ inaction on these trade deals opened the door for other countries to move forward with their own agreements and put American manufacturing and agriculture at a competitive disadvantage. As a frustrating example, the agreement with Colombia was reached in November 2006, but was hamstrung by political shenanigans for nearly five years. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce states that, “U.S. farmers have already lost more than $1 billion in sales to Colombia in the two years since that country implemented a trade deal with Argentina and Brazil.”
On the upside, these agreements don’t require any new government spending and will support up to 250,000 jobs.
The thousands of jobs these trade deals will create are greatly needed and I am excited at the opportunities our farmers, ranchers and manufacturers now have to freely export to Colombia, Panama and South Korea.