Chamber Urges Action on Free Trade Agreements

At its March meeting, the Board of Directors for the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce took action to  urge our elected leaders to make trade expansion a part of America’s economic recovery by approving the pending trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama. Support for these job-creating, budget-neutral trade agreements is critical to America’s workers, farmers, and companies.

Member businesses and their employees are encouraged to contact their elected officials in Washington to encourage their support of the agreements.

According to the United States Chamber of Commerce, the pending agreements will create tens of thousands of good American jobs and billions of dollars in new exports within a few short years. They will bolster important allies and confirm that America is not ready to cede its global leadership role in trade.

Fundamentally, these agreements are about making trade fair. The U.S. market is largely open to imports from around the world, but other countries continue to slap steep tariffs on our exports. These agreements will create a level playing field for American workers and farmers by eliminating the barriers U.S. exporters face in these three markets.

The agreements are particularly important for America’s small and mid-sized companies. More than 250,000 U.S. companies are exporters, and 97% of them are small and medium-sized businesses. Together, they generate nearly one-third of all U.S. merchandise exports. These agreements are especially important for these smaller businesses, which are often shut out of foreign markets by high tariffs and other barriers.

Other nations are racing to complete their own trade deals with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama and create jobs on their own shores. The EU, Canada, and others are signing their own trade agreements with these countries, threatening to put American workers at a competitive disadvantage. A U.S. Chamber study has warned that the United States will lose more than 380,000 jobs and $40 billion in export sales if we delay further.

Now it the time to sharpen America’s competitive advantages in the global marketplace by opening growing markets abroad. We urge you to lend your support for approval of the pending trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama.

For more on the free trade agreements, visit the U.S. Chamber’s website at

A list of our local Federal elected officials can be found on the Chamber’s website at or you can visit and enter your ZIP code and address to locate your elected congressman.

One Response to “Chamber Urges Action on Free Trade Agreements”

  1. Jim R. Blass says:

    It is no secret that, as a company, Caterpillar is a vocal supporter of free and open trade. And personally, I am a big advocate of trade as well, because I see the benefits every single day to our company, our employees, and our communities around the world.

    At Caterpillar, we depend on trade. In the big picture, trade agreements typically bring net gains in exports and jobs – all good things because they lower the price of American goods into an export market and because they create jobs.

    The United States used to lead the world on trade liberalization, but lately progress has been painfully slow. Late last year, we finally saw a few glimmers of hope when the White House announced its support of the Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA). After years of no progress on trade, the announcement was welcome, but quite frankly, it’s not good enough. To us, passing the Korea FTA while keeping Colombia and Panama on the sidelines is like kicking a field goal on second down.

    Translation for those who are not football fans: While we certainly can pass just the Korea FTA, why would we when we can pass all three? Missing this opportunity is a bad strategic decision that will cost us opportunities for growth and jobs. It lessens our chance of winning in the global economy, because every day we wait on the other FTAs is another day we are giving our competitors the chance to leapfrog the United States and gain a competitive advantage.

    That’s why Caterpillar has been proudly leading the charge to ensure the Obama Administration and Congress enact all three pending Free Trade Agreements (FTAs)—Korea, Colombia and Panama. We are proud to have the support of our friends in the Aurora and U.S. Chamber of Commerce.