ARLINGTON, VA. —
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.”