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Weekly Trade Spotlight: Expanding Markets, Growing Businesses, Supporting Jobs

On Wednesday, Ambassadors Kirk, Sapiro, and Siddiqui will meet with the White House Business Council to discuss ways to support job creation. This week, takes a look at the job-building opportunities within the three pending trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama.

When it comes to selling goods and services to customers abroad, American exporters can face barriers to trade in the form of high tariffs, regulatory barriers, and “behind-the-border” concerns. However, the pending trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama have the potential to significantly open up these markets for “Made-in-America” goods and services, while supporting tens of thousands of additional jobs here at home.

A wide array of U.S. companies stand to improve and expand their businesses through passage of these three trade agreements because they insist on equal market access and fair treatment of American products. As American businesses sell more products they will be able to hire more workers. For example, by eliminating the current five percent tariff on bulldozers and the 15 percent tariff on heavy trucks, Caterpillar would gain a competitive edge over other global construction equipment manufacturers who also export these products to Colombia.

But large manufacturers aren’t the only ones who will be able to grow their exports as a result of the pending trade agreements. As tariffs are immediately eliminated or gradually phased out in South Korea, small companies, like the Langdale Company based in Valdosta, Ga., will be able to export more of their lumber products. And lower duties will make Langdale’s products more affordable for South Korean customers.

More exports leads to more jobs – this is a basic tenet of President Obama’s National Export Initiative, which seeks to double American exports by the end of 2014. This is where USTR’s work to open markets around the world makes a difference. The pending trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama will serve to expand market access for American businesses and level the playing field for their goods and services.