In general, I hate to use the blog as a mouthpiece for press releases and corporate communications (it really takes away from the trademark irreverent, conversational tone that State of Trade is so dedicated to), but I thought y’all might be interested in my official statement on yesterday’s progress. Here it is:
Today’s action in the House and Senate is an exciting step in the process to pass these trade agreements that are so vital to Washington state’s continued economic recovery. South Korea is Washington’s fourth largest export customer, with total exports reaching $2.8 billion in 2010. Colombia and Panama represent important, fast-growing markets for our state, with a combined value of close to $400 million in exports last year; this amount represents an increase of 180% over 2009. The eventual passage of these free trade agreements will mean jobs and increased revenues for a wide range of Washington state-based companies.
On behalf of WCIT’s members, I would like to thank Senator Maria Cantwell for her ongoing leadership on these issues as a member of the Senate Finance Committee, and Representatives Dave Reichert and Jim McDermott for their dedicated support of these measures in the House Committee on Ways and Means. The Washington Congressional delegation has been consistently supportive of strong international trade policies, recognizing the importance of these issues to the most trade-dependent state in the country.
WCIT’s members–farmers, manufacturers, service providers, researchers, educators, non-profit organizations and individuals–have prioritized the passage of these FTAs as both good trade policy and a major benefit to Washington’s economy. We urge that these three trade agreements be submitted to and approved by Congress without further delay.
There’s still a long way to go on these (the issue on whether or not a Republican-controlled House of Representatives will agree to fund Trade Adjustment Assistance could derail the whole thing), but this is exciting progress. And I’m not saying that these agreements were stalled for three years and then immediately started moving in Congress as soon as I came on board, but…