Statements and Speeches
WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) participated in the Finance Committee hearing, "The U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement." For more information or to watch a webcast of the hearing, please click here. A copy of Sen. Carper's remarks, as prepared for delivery, follows:
"Today's hearing on the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement is of great importance to me and my home state of Delaware. On May 4, 2011, the Administration notified Congress that Colombia has completed the action items required by April 22, 2011 as part of the labor action plan and accordingly will begin the technical work for implementing language. The labor action plan will make fundamental changes in advancing labor rights in Colombia. I would like to thank U.S. Trade Ambassador Ron Kirk for his hard work in advancing the President's trade agenda. The President has called on us to out-educate, out-innovate and out-compete. Allowing this agreement to move forward is a critical step to accomplishing this goal.
"As I consider the merits of this trade promotion agreement, my top priority is keeping the state of Delaware, its farmers and its manufacturers competitive. Today, one out of every five chickens produced by local growers on the Delmarva Peninsula is exported overseas. As the worldwide demand for protein is expected to continue to increase in the coming years, ensuring that more and more of our Delaware chickens can be sold overseas is critically important for me and my constituents. Ultimately, selling more chickens in countries around the world means more jobs and revenue for farmers in the First State. Exporting Delaware chickens around the world not only benefits the farmers who sell chickens, but it also helps the thousands more who are part of the larger supply chain. It is estimated that the Free Trade Agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama will lead to an additional $150 million a year in export revenue for the U.S. chicken industry and will create 13,500 new jobs. In Delaware these trade agreements add up an additional $11 million per year in export revenue and 1,000 new jobs in our chicken industry.
"In order to sell more of our commodities, like chickens, overseas, we must remove trade barriers that prevent other countries from buying our goods. Tariffs, like those that American businesses are faced with in Colombia, have hindered our companies from gaining access to important markets overseas. Colombia is advancing in its trade relations with Canada and China, giving greater access to those countries' goods each day that we sit on the sidelines and fail to approve this agreement. The time to act is now. I am encouraged by the progress made in Colombia on a host of fronts, including improving labor rights, curbing the drug trade and reducing violence and instability. I think this trade agreement will help Colombia continue to make progress in these important areas and I look forward to working my colleagues to advance this important trade agreement."