WASHINGTON. D.C. (Oct. 12, 2011) — Congressman Steve Rothman (D-NJ) voted in favor of the Korea Free Trade Agreement, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 278-151. Congressman Rothman released the following statement.
“The Korea Free Trade Agreement has the potential to create tens of thousands of American jobs and increase our nation’s exports by billions of dollars. This agreement will open Korean markets to American companies and create many new opportunities for American goods and products, leading to significant job growth here at home.
“Implementing the Korea FTA will also strengthen our important strategic relationship with South Korea – from our economic and diplomatic partnership to our military and intelligence cooperation – by deepening the links between our two countries.
“Critical to my support was the bipartisan agreement to extend the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program simultaneous with the vote on the Korea FTA. This Program assists workers who were laid off or had wages and hours reduced as a result of trade, by helping them to find and train for new and better jobs.
“I have been working hard to make sure that the Korea FTA will be a good deal for American workers. That is why in July 2010, my colleagues and I sent a letter to President Obama, to discuss the improvements that needed to be made to the Korea FTA in order to ensure that it would protect our manufacturing sector and more vigorously promote American exports. Since that time, President Obama’s U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk and his team secured significant concessions from their South Korean counterparts that have improved this agreement for the U.S. and made it worthy of my vote.
“Therefore, after careful review, I am satisfied that this Agreement meets the basic principles of protecting labor rights, environmental standards, food safety regulations, financial regulations, and taxation transparency that I seek in any trade agreement. The Korea FTA lives up to those basic standards, unlike the Colombia and Panama Free Trade Agreements, which I strongly opposed.”