Statement of Sen. John Hoeven on the President's Signing of the South Korean, Colombian, and Panamanian Free Trade Agreements

BISMARCK – Senator John Hoeven today issued the statement below following the President’s signing of the long-pending U.S. free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. Hoeven worked with congressional colleagues on both sides of the aisle and the Administration to win approval for the agreements. He and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell earlier this year met in Seoul with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and prominent Korean business leaders to advance the U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement. 

This summer Hoeven worked with a bipartisan group of Senators to forge an agreement on a Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) bill, which cleared the way for the Administration to send the agreements to Congress for approval. He also worked with U.S. Trade Ambassador Ron Kirk to move the legislation forward, and in June, delivered the national Republican Radio Address to urge support for the three measures. The U.S. Senate passed the measures with bipartisan support on Oct. 13. 

Statement of Senator John Hoeven: 

“At a time when the American economy is struggling and unemployment lingers at more than 9 percent, these three trade agreements hold the promise of more than $13 billion in new economic activity for our farmers, ranchers and manufacturers and more than a quarter of a million jobs for American workers. 

“Our efforts through the North Dakota Trade Office and other measures to promote foreign trade in our state resulted in a 300 percent increase in exports over the last decade for North Dakota’s agricultural producers and companies, demonstrating the effectiveness of building strong business relationships overseas. Now, the agreements signed today will immediately create a more level playing field and open new markets for North Dakota companies. 

“From the U.S. perspective, these agreements eliminate tariffs and swing open formerly closed or restricted markets to more American products and services, including North Dakota agricultural and manufactured goods. South Korea has a $1 trillion economy and 49 million consumers, with growing demand for U.S. products like beef and manufactured goods. The Panama agreement will increase sales for heavy equipment manufacturers like Caterpillar, which has a sizable presence in North Dakota. Most importantly for our state and our nation, increased trade will help to create new opportunities for American businesses and new jobs for American workers at a time when our country greatly needs them.”