Congress has passed trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama a day ahead of a meeting between South Korea’s president and President Obama Thursday. The bipartisan vote comes after five years of delays.
The Computer & Communications Industry Association praised the bipartisan cooperation that allowed measures to offset harm to some sectors from the deals and pave the way for a vote. The agreement with Korea includes electronic commerce as well as government procurement provisions. The trade deals would contribute toward the National Export Initiative goal of doubling U.S. exports over five years.
The Korea agreement contains provisions that would expand market access for the technology industry to a major trading partner. The U.S. exports $40 billion in goods to South Korea now and this agreement is expected to increase exports.
The following statement can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:
“This bipartisan vote is a sign that Congress can put aside political differences and work together on issues that impact the US economy. Bipartisan consensus on trade issues has been a hallmark of US foreign policy for decades and must be restored to keep the nation innovative and competitive.
“With competing agreements such as Korea-EU and Colombia-Canada, which recently took effect, the delay was costing the U.S. market share. We appreciate the end to this trade stalemate and look forward to expanding U.S. exports in these markets.”
“While we celebrate the passage of these trade agreements, going forward we also need to see to it that future trade deals include provisions that address 21st Century issues such as stronger protections for the free flow of information over the Internet. As more goods and services are distributed online, we must ensure that the digital world receives the same protection as the physical world. Internet openness is important as a trade issue because U.S. companies make up a disproportionate share of the world’s Internet pioneers and Silicon Valley is a major export driver at a time when the U.S. is struggling to increase its exports.”