by Brenda Hall
With the unanimous vote for the resolution to support the passage of the Panama, Columbia and South Korean Free Trade Agreements, the National District Export Council sent a resounding “YES” to the Administration and the Hill on April 12.
At the First District Export Council Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C., more than 75 United States business leaders, representing 1,800 small business exporters from across the country, brought a collective voice for Free Trade Agreements in an unprecedented unanimous vote. The District Export Council National Steering Committee, of which I serve as the secretary/treasurer, took this strong message to the White House and the Hill as we met with Administration and congressional
As you can imagine, getting 1,800 business leaders to agree on anything is quite a feat but this watershed moment is a testament to the importance of these agreements to our country.
During the George W. Bush administration, and now with the current Barack Obama administration, the DECs around the country have been pushing to pass the Free Trade Agreements with Panama, Columbia and South Korea. When the Obama administration came to Washington, they decided to look harder at the FTA passage process; they wanted to make sure FTA’s were ‘fair’ as well as ‘free’. On the radar were the current three FTA’s, and this administration wanted to be sure that if we imported flowers from Columbia, for example, without tariffs and barriers, then Columbia would allow us to ship farm equipment and fertilizers to grow those flowers without tariffs and barriers.
I believe there is a misunderstanding among many Americans that passage of the FTA’s would take away jobs and send them off shore. This is exactly the opposite of what would happen. Many people believe FTAs move jobs ‘offshore’ but that is simply not so. Other countries such as Germany, France, Australia, Italy and others usually sign FTA agreements far sooner than the US. US companies find it hard to compete on this global playing field given our timeline constraints. When a US company has more exporting business it will grow. Growth means jobs right here at home. Exports help grow jobs. Simple Truth!