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Congressman Tom Reed this morning called for pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea to be voted on within a month. “Getting people back to work is something we talk about repeatedly,” Reed said. “These free trade agreements can actually do that – they are job creators for Upstate New York.”
“The trade agreements eliminate most tariffs,” Reed explained. “That will create opportunities for local agriculture, manufacturers and service providers.” He noted the growing export demand for products such as grapes, apples, and beef which are produced in large quantities upstate. According to the U.S Chamber of Commerce, in 2009 New York exported $925 million worth of agricultural products, including grape products.
“We have major producers and distributors right here that need these agreements,” Reed observed. “The more that 29thDistrict businesses export, the more workers they need and the more local products they buy. This means jobs for local families.”
Reed cited Constellation Brands in Victor as one local business poised to drastically increase exports if tariffs come down. If the South Korean trade agreement is passed, Korean duties on American grape juice and wine will be eliminated immediately.
Over three months ago, Reed lead with Congressman Rick Berg (R-ND) on a letter to the White House signed by 67 freshman members of Congress urging action on the free trade agreements. “Our economy and our job market cannot afford anything less than swift and decisive action,” Reed declared. “We need these jobs.”
Ninety-six percent of the world’s consumers live outside the United States. Over the last 18 years, New York State exports to foreign nations have surged after each and every free trade agreement was signed.