North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven delivers this weeks GOP weekly address. Sen. Hoeven says, “Our country needs the kind of pro-jobs, pro-growth policies that will help us live up to our vision of a strong, peaceful, prosperous America. We have an opportunity right now to advance that vision and jump start the nation’s economy. Robust international trade can help us do it, and we can start by ratifying long-pending free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama.
“All of these agreements have been languishing for years, but with a 9.1 percent unemployment rate, and a spiraling deficit, the President can no longer hold these agreements back. Currently, he is holding them up in order to negotiate the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program. TAA can be addressed separately in the context of Trade Promotion Authority, as it generally has been in the past since 1974.
“For the good of our economy and our country he needs to send these free agreements to the U.S. Senate for approval now, so that U.S. workers and businesses can begin to realize their benefits.”
He points out, “The U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement will eliminate or reduce more than 85 percent of the tariffs between the United States and Korea, including the eventual elimination of a 40 percent Korean tariff on American beef. Just one project we’ve been working on in my home state, a new beef processing facility, could mean a $100 million investment in our economy and 500 new jobs. In North Dakota that’s a big deal.
“But these free trade agreements are an even bigger deal for America. The South Korean Free Trade Agreement alone will increase our nation’s exports to that country by more than $10 billion and create 280,000 American jobs. In fact, for every 4 percent increase in American exports, we can create one million new American jobs. The reality is that nearly 80 percent of the world’s purchasing power lies outside the United States, and if we don’t tap those markets, others will.”
Sen. Hoeven concludes, “Free and fair trade agreements can help us create the kind of pro-jobs, pro-growth economy that will lift our nation up. Good fiscal control and a legal tax, and regulatory environment that promotes private investment and business innovation, can help us to create jobs, grow our economy, and reduce our deficit.”