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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez

News Release

OPA News Release: [10/04/2011]
Contact Name: Joshua Lamont
Phone Number: (202) 693-4661
Release Number: 11-1451-NAT

Statement by Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis: export growth, TAA critical to job creation

WASHINGTON — Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today issued the following statement calling on Congress to create export-driven jobs by ratifying free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, and to pass a robust Trade Adjustment Assistance program:

"For the sake of our economic recovery, we must open new markets to American-made goods and services. These three agreements are the result of intensive negotiations that put America first. They'll ensure that we're exporting American products, not paychecks, abroad.

"American exports support 10 million jobs, and these pending trade agreements will create even more. The tariff reductions agreed to by South Korea alone will boost U.S. exports by $10 billion to $12 billion annually.

"As we move on these free trade agreements, it's crucial that the House follow the Senate's lead and extend a lifeline to American workers whose livelihoods could be affected by shifts in global production. For half a century, Republicans and Democrats always have come together to support Trade Adjustment Assistance to aid workers impacted by foreign competition. It's time to join hands and pass this critical program once again.

"Congress has a major opportunity here to create jobs and begin to restore the public's faith that Washington can work together to solve our biggest challenges. Lawmakers should not pass up this opportunity to advance a strong, market-opening trade agenda that gives blue-collar and service sector workers the help they need to adapt and succeed in the 21st century economy."