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Statement by Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank on Passage of the Trade Agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank issued the statement below following Congressional passage of trade agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama. The agreement with Korea is estimated to boost U.S. goods exports to that country by more than $10 billion, supporting 70,000 American jobs, while the Colombia and Panama agreements will immediately eliminate trade barriers for more than 80 percent of merchandise exports to those countries.

“I applaud Congress for approving the trade agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama tonight. They will support tens of thousands of jobs here at home and strengthen our economic recovery. With the approval of these agreements, the Obama administration has taken a significant step forward in pursuing an ambitious trade agenda that will make U.S. companies more competitive around the world, while creating jobs here at home."

“These three trade agreements, along with the Trade Adjustment Assistance program that Congress has approved, represent a balanced approach to trade that not only opens up new opportunities for U.S. businesses but also provides support for American workers displaced by trade, so they can receive the training and assistance they need to find new jobs.”

Boosted by the President’s National Export Initiative, exports – which support nearly 10 million American jobs – have been leading the economic recovery, accounting for more than 13 percent of U.S. economic output in the first quarter of 2011.  The bottom line is that the more products and services that U.S. companies sell abroad, the more they need to produce. And, the more they produce, the more people they need to hire, and that means good-paying jobs for Americans. These agreements will no doubt further strengthen our economy and create jobs.

For more information about the three trade agreements – how they will open market access for U.S. companies, how they will protect workers and how they will contribute to U.S. economic growth and recovery – please visit the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s website at