Editorial: Free Trade

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Last week in President Obama's address to a joint session of Congress he urged all lawmakers "to clear the way for a series of trade agreements that would make it easier for American companies to sell their products in Panama, Colombia and South Korea – while also helping the workers whose jobs have been affected by global competition."

What followed his comments –which we agree with- was a rousing standing ovation by the Republicans in the chamber. That's right – I said Republicans.  Unfortunately, this is not a slam dunk as the President had only a dozen or so Democratic leaders respond to his comments in a similar fashion.  I know what you are thinking – here we go again!

Here are just a few numbers that support passing these free-trade agreements without delay.  The South Korean deal (the home country for Hyundai and Kia) would boost U.S. exports by as much as $10.9 billion in the first year according to the U.S. International Trade Commission. The accord with Colombia would increase exports by as much as $1.1 billion a year.

What about jobs?  Well, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says the trade agreements will prevent the loss of 380,000 jobs and here at home in Alabama we could add up to 15,000 agriculture jobs alone according to Alabama Agricultural Commissioner John McMillan.

So here is your chance lawmakers to start doing what we voted you into office for.  Before you is a sound proposal that will create jobs and provide much needed revenue for our state and nation.  Reach across the aisle and don't let us down.

We appreciate your feedback.

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