House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement in response to the announcement by the U.S. Trade Representative and the government of South Korea that the U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement will officially be implemented on March 15:
“There is a bipartisan jobs achievement worthy of a White House celebration today, but it isn’t the extension of the payroll tax holiday or unemployment benefits – it’s the announcement by the U.S. and South Korea that the free trade agreement between our two countries will be put into effect next month. The announcement is positive news for American job creators who have been waiting for government barriers between our two countries to fall so they can proceed with new investments in new markets. It stands as an example of what can be accomplished when the White House and Democratic-controlled Senate put campaign politics aside and work with Republicans to implement policies that truly support economic growth and job creation.
“I commend the Obama Administration and the government of South Korea for their work in putting the long-delayed free trade agreement into effect. My hope is that our similar agreements with Colombia and Panama will be put into effect as soon as possible as well so that they, too, can begin working to the benefit of American small businesses and workers.
“The ‘stimulus’ spending binge deepened the hole we are in as a nation. To pull ourselves back out, we need a pro-growth American agenda of free trade, fiscal discipline, tax reform, American energy production and regulatory relief – an approach that gets government out of the way of small business and allows our nation’s economy to grow. The free trade agreements passed by the House last year give the green light to American job creation and investment in some critical sectors of our economy. But much more must be done to get government out of the way and remove government barriers to job creation so our economy can return to prosperity.”
NOTE: Last year, Speaker Boehner urged President Obama to abandon plans for a piecemeal approach and send the three pending U.S. Free Trade Agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea to Congress at the same time to help boost American job creation. The president ultimately did, and in October 2011, all three agreements were passed immediately. In January, Speaker Boehner led a bipartisan delegation to Latin America during which the delegation discussed implementation of the Colombia and Panama FTAs with the leaders of both countries.