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A Note from the Senate office – 10.18.11

A Note from the Senate office – 10.18.11

Posted: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 7:03 pm
By: Sen. Lamar Alexander

‘Trade agreements will help create jobs’

Our country has endured unemployment above 9 percent for a longer period of time than at any time since the Great Depression, and unfortunately Tennessee’s isn’t any better.
This week, Congress took a good step toward creating an environment where businesses can create jobs by passing three trade agreements that will create up to a quarter of a million jobs nationwide, including thousands in Tennessee, by allowing farmers and manufacturers to sell overseas what we grow and make in the United States.
These three trade agreements – with Colombia, South Korea, and Panama – are good news for Tennessee’s economy.
They will help bring millions of dollars and thousands of jobs to our state, now that Tennesseans can sell more of our auto parts to South Korea, more of our electronics to Panama, and more of our soybeans to Colombia.
Congress would have passed these trade agreements to help create good private-sector jobs all across the country a long time ago, but unfortunately the agreements sat on the President’s desk since the day he took office nearly three years ago.
In fact, these trade agreements were negotiated between four and five years ago.
Congress has been waiting for President Obama to send them to us so we can pass them and move forward with other proposals to help make it easier and cheaper to create private-sector jobs.
In Tennessee, we see the advantages of trading with the world – 116,000 jobs in Tennessee are related to selling our manufactured goods to people in other countries.
In 2010 alone, Tennessee exported nearly $900 million in goods to South Korea, Panama and Colombia, despite the trade barriers these three agreements will get rid of.
Similar trade agreements passed in 2004 helped increase what Tennessee sells to Chile by 416 percent and to Singapore by 195 percent, according to the International Trade Administration. Millions of Americans are hurting in this economy and need work now, and, with the first step of passing these trade agreements done, Congress can turn to making it easier to find good private-sector jobs.
Now Congress can take steps to reform our tax code and get rid of bad regulations to free up American businesses to hire, and get working on entitlement reform to lower our job-killing debt.

WCP 10.18.11