U.S. Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee and co-chair of the New Democrat Coalition Trade Task Force, made the following statement after the House passed pending trade agreements between the U.S. and South Korea, Colombia, and Panama, along with renewal of Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) reforms and expired trade preference programs today:
“Today, Congress has helped move a balanced trade agenda forward, one that includes Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) and the three pending trade agreements. This builds on the Administration’s continued aggressive enforcement when our trading partners don’t meet their obligations under existing treaties.
“I have pushed for years to improve TAA and the three trade agreements that were considered today. As a result of my efforts and those of my colleagues, TAA is a better program and the Administration has made significant improvements to the three trade agreements.
“The comprehensive package passed today will support individual workers advance their skills in a changing economy, help struggling businesses adapt to new demands, create more opportunities for Washington State exports abroad and strengthen the job market in our local economy. As the most trade dependent state, nearly one in three Washington jobs is tied to trade.
“Importantly, these agreements include enforceable commitments for our trade partners to adopt, maintain and implement laws that incorporate core internationally recognized labor rights. That means, if our trading partners don’t abide by those obligations, we have measures to ensure that they do.”