Washington DC – In response to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk’s remarks on the U.S. trade agenda before the Senate Finance Committee this morning, the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) released the following statement.
“We are encouraged by Ambassador Kirk’s remarks regarding ongoing discussions between the U.S., Colombian and Panamanian governments to resolve issues standing in the way of approval of both pending trade deals. At the same time, however, we urge the Administration to move as quickly as possible to prevent the further erosion of U.S. market share,” said NFTC President Bill Reinsch. “We are pleased that Ambassador Kirk on Monday announced his intention to submit the Korea agreement to Congress for consideration and approval shortly. We also echo the call made by several members of the committee today for the Administration to move past the verbal commitment to advance the Colombia and Panama agreements, and set an aggressive timeline to get them done as soon as possible this year. It’s past time to move forward. Action is needed now.”
“We are hopeful that there is truly a very intensive effort under way to engage with the Colombian and Panamanian governments to ready these trade agreements as soon as possible this year,” said NFTC Vice President for Regional Trade Initiatives Chuck Dittrich. “Both markets are critical to our goal to double exports and support job creation, and we do our exporters and their employees no favors by allowing these agreements to languish any further.”
“We applaud Ambassador Kirk for calling for the restoration of three key trade preference programs – the Generalized System of Preferences, the Andean Trade Preference Act and the Trade Adjustment Assistance program. All three are essential elements of our trade policy, and we urge Congress to approve legislation extending each of them, on their own merits, as soon as possible,” said Dittrich.
“With respect to the Doha Round, there is substantive dialogue taking place in Geneva among negotiators, and we sense a heightened level of engagement by all partners. We believe that this is the year for action toward a successful and ambitious outcome to the Round, but it will be critical for the United States to play a key leadership role to advance the talks further,” said NFTC Vice President for Global Trade Issues Jake Colvin.
Advancing Global Commerce for Nearly A Century– 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.
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