Hoeven Calls for U.S. Senate Vote on Pending Trade Agreements with South Korea, Colombia, Panama

Administration Announces It Will Move Forward with Trade Agreements

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator John Hoeven and a group of Republican senators today spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate in support of the Republican Jobs Plan, a comprehensive formula to boost the economy and get America working again. Also speaking were Senators Rob Portman of Ohio, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, John Barrasso of Wyoming, and John Cornyn of Texas.  

The seven-part plan calls for the nation to live within its means; reform the tax code, without raising taxes, unburden the economy from unnecessary regulation, create a competitive workforce, increase exports to create jobs, adopt common-sense health care solutions, and pass a comprehensive energy policy to power the nation’s economy. 

Hoeven focused on two areas of the plan: the need to ratify pending trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama; and the need for comprehensive energy policy and a legal, tax and regulatory environment that will get billions of dollars of investment off the sidelines and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs for American workers.  

“Both energy and trade are very important for job creation in our country,” Hoeven said. “If you look at this plan it’s truly comprehensive. It’s about living within our means. It’s about reforming our tax code, without raising taxes, to create a pro-growth environment. It means reducing our spending, but also growing our economy. 

“There are hundreds of millions to billions of dollars today that would go into investments all over this country in the energy patch, both traditional sources of energy and renewable sources of energy, with the latest, greatest technology – more energy, more dependably, more cost-effectively with better environmental stewardship.” 

Hoeven also called for swift ratification of the pending trade agreements between the United States and the Republic of Korea, Colombia and Panama. South Korea is a nation with 49 million consumers and a $1 trillion economy. As the world’s 15th largest economy, and the United States’ 7th largest trade partner, it represents an enormous market for American manufacturers, farmers, ranchers and service providers. 

“The Korean agreement alone is expected to increase U.S. exports to South Korea by $10 billion a year. We’re talking hundreds of thousands of jobs. We need to be working on those three trade agreements right now to approve them. So I urge our leadership, I urge the Administration to work with us to get those trade agreements to the floor and get them approved as part of this comprehensive jobs plan.” 

Administration To Move Forward with Trade Agreements 

Following the floor discussion, the office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced that the White House is ready to push forward with the three trade agreements, the U.S.-Korean Free Trade Agreement and agreements with both Colombia and Panama. Talks could begin as early as tomorrow. 

Two weeks ago, Hoeven, Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and a group of senators visited South Korea to promote the U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement with Korean government and business leaders. Ratification of the pact will eliminate more than 85 percent of the tariffs between the United States and the Republic of Korea, and is expected to increase U.S. exports to that country by more than $10 billion. 

The congressional delegation met with President Lee Myung-bak and Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan, as well as American and Korean entrepreneurs who are already planning projects that will employ thousands of American workers and generate billions of dollars in commerce for the United States. That includes a proposed $100 million beef processing facility in North Dakota that will employ approximately 500 people.