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CEA Sees Trade Pact Progress


International competition
is at the heart of the Consumer Electronics
Association’s (CEA) active advocacy
for passage of fair-trade agreements with a
number of countries. New trade agreements
with Colombia, Panama and Korea have
been awaiting action in Congress for years.

CEA has been encouraging passage as
soon as possible. “There’s really no excuse for
opposing it,” noted Michael Petricone, CEA’s
government affairs senkior VP. “We pay tariffs
for products sent to these countries but they
don’t pay for goods shipped here.”

There was good news on the trade front
in early December when U.S. and Korea
negotiators announced that there had been
significant progress. U.S. trade representative
Ron Kirk said at the time “We’ve made
substantial progress in our discussions. It’s
time for the leaders to review this progress
before we move forward.”

CEA’s president/CEO Gary Shapiro applauded
the progress. “The breakthrough
achieved by U.S. and Korean negotiators paves the way for this vital trade pact to be
sent to, and approved by, Congress,” Shapiro
said. “CEA represents over 2,000 of the
world’s most cutting-edge technology companies,
two-thirds of which are engaged in
international trade. This agreement is vital
for U.S. businesses to remain competitive
and to create American jobs, which are the
source of our innovation.”

“The KORUS FTA was concluded on
June 30, 2007 but has not yet been sent
to Congress for approval. Resolution of the
outstanding issues puts American businesses
and workers one step closer to the
finish line,” continued Shapiro. “Korea is the
world’s tenth largest economy with a GDP
of nearly $1 trillion and is the United States’
seventh largest goods trading partner. Between
2001 and 2007, U.S. high-tech exports
to Korea increased by 20 percent,
totaling $8.9 billion in 2007. Passage of the
Agreement will build on a dynamic bilateral
trade and investment relationship between
the United States and Korea, adding certainty
for our industry’s business leaders,
removing tariffs and non-tariff barriers.”

Petricone added, “We’re hopeful the new
House leadership will bring all these [trade
agreements] for votes.”