– On the three-year anniversary of the bipartisan May 10 agreement on trade, the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) today urged President Obama to follow through on his State of the Union address pledge to strengthen trade relations with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. NFTC President Bill Reinsch released the following statement:
"By expanding market access in Panama, Colombia and South Korea, we have an opportunity to grow American exports, create U.S. jobs and generate economic opportunity for our companies, which employ millions of hard-working Americans every day.
"Global trade and the pace of international business require that the United States be aggressive in seeking new markets to sell American good and services. As our competitors seize opportunities to expand market share in these countries – displacing U.S. farmers, ranchers, service providers and manufacturers – we are standing still.
"Three years have passed since a Democratic Congress and a Republican administration agreed to a bipartisan framework for America's trade agenda. We cannot afford to let another year pass, waiting for the most politically opportune time to consider and approve these agreements, as the economic costs of inaction grow.
"The May 10, 2007, agreement was not perfect -- it included provisions that significantly weaken intellectual property rights protection for U.S. firms -- but it did provide a bipartisan framework for proceeding on the U.S. trade agenda. With that, and the strong economic arguments for action, the only thing missing is political will.
"We either seize this moment to increase exports and maximize job creation, or we continue to see our market share decline as competitor nations gladly take our seat at the trading table.
"By sending these export-promoting, job-creating agreements to Congress for an up-or-down vote, the President can send a message that America is indeed open for business. Now is the time to move forward."About the NFTCAdvancing Global Commerce for 95 Years - The National Foreign Trade Council (www.nftc.org) is a leading business organization advocating an open, rules-based global trading system. Founded in 1914 by a broad-based group of American companies, the NFTC now serves hundreds of member companies through its offices in Washington and New York. Follow us on: