Congress keeps threatening to shut down over the budget, but there is at least one thing the two houses can agree on. Pending free trade agreements have bipartisan support in both the House and Senate; all that is needed is for President Obama to send them to Congress, so that they can be passed.
Congressman Kevin Brady (R–TX), vice chairman and top Republican on the Joint Economic Committee and chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade, spoke at the Heritage Bloggers Briefing on the pending free trade agreements with Panama, Colombia, and South Korea.
Congressman Brady began with the argument that trade ought to be “a basic economic freedom” and said that the pending agreements with these countries are a part of that freedom. The countries he mentioned constitute a potential $13 billion of new sales for U.S. companies in manufacturing, agriculture, and industry.
Trade with South Korea is especially crucial because, in the congressman’s words, “We need to be in China’s backyard.”
Panama and Colombia are growing trading partners in Latin America, and the United States puts itself at a disadvantage when other nations engage in free trade and the U.S. doesn’t. Brady said if the United States wants to maintain its status as an economic world leader, it must keep up with the pace of other nations and expand its participation in the world market.
Listen to Representative Brady’s full comments on free trade, along with a discussion of his Maximizing America’s Prosperity (MAP) Act, here.
Charles Kaupke is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm