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Ambassador Kirk: Trade Agreements Will Help Create Export-Supported Jobs in America

Today, Ambassador Kirk wrote a guest blog post on how the trade agreements will help create export-supported jobs on WhiteHouse.gov.  Read the full blog post below.

Trade Agreements Will Help Create Export-Supported Jobs in America
Posted by Ambassador Ron Kirk on October 04, 2011 at 05:45 PM EDT

Every day, President Obama is fighting to put more Americans back to work. That’s why he proposed the American Jobs Act – a package of bipartisan, common sense measures designed to help U.S. businesses grow and create jobs – which Congress should pass right away.

Yesterday, the President took another step to help create and preserve U.S. jobs when he sent Congress three trade agreements,with Korea, Colombia, and Panama. President Obama is calling on Congress to pass the trade agreements and at the same time to renew Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) that helps workers whose jobs are affected by global competition. All four of these items are important elements of the President’s balanced trade agenda to open markets for U.S. exporters and keep faith with workers here at home.

Together, these agreements are estimated to increase U.S. GDP by more than $12 billion and support tens of thousands of additional American jobs. In fact, it is estimated that every $1 billion of goods and services we export supports approximately 5,500 jobs at home. That means the Korea trade agreement will support at least an estimated 70,000 U.S. jobs through increased goods exports alone.

Naturally, the big job-building potential of these agreements has led many Americans to ask how increased trade translates into more U.S. jobs. The short answer is that trade agreements open overseas markets to significantly enhance opportunities for American businesses and workers to sell more innovative, high-quality products Made in America to customers all around the world. And as American exporters expand their businesses by increasing international sales into these newly-opened markets, they are likely to hire more workers to produce goods and provide services here at home.

These agreements will make it cheaper, faster, and easier for U.S. producers to sell more American goods and services in the growing markets of Korea, Colombia and Panama. They will put American businesses, workers, farmers, ranchers, manufacturers and service providers on a level playing field against foreign competitors.

For example, today, there are plenty of Hyundais and Kias on American highways, because car customers here in the United States have the freedom to choose among many different brands and models at competitive prices. In contrast, there aren’t nearly as many Fords, Chevys, or Chryslers cruising the streets of Korea, in part because high tariff and non-tariff barriers currently put U.S. auto manufacturers at a disadvantage in the South Korean market.

Seizing sales opportunities overseas can build jobs and businesses of all sizes throughout the American automotive supply chain here at home. That’s why, last year, President Obama sent a team back to the negotiating table to secure additional market access and a level playing field for U.S. auto manufacturers in Korea. Now there are more export opportunities – and more potential jobs – on the table in the U.S.-Korea trade agreement. Similarly, the Colombia and Panama trade agreements will enhance job-building export opportunities for U.S. producers.

President Obama wants to turn these trade opportunities into real jobs and more money for American working families. Now’s it’s up to Congress to act by passing the trade agreements and renewing TAA. By coming together to find common ground on a balanced approach to trade, we can get our economy moving full speed ahead with more jobs for hard-working Americans.

Ambassador Ron Kirk is the United States Trade Representative