DJOU: “NOW IS THE TIME FOR FREE TRADE AGREEMENT WITH SOUTH KOREA”
Washington, DC — Congressman Charles K. Djou (HI-01) issued the following statement in response to the Administration’s announcement over the weekend at the G20 Summit in Toronto that it would push for the free trade agreement with the Republic of Korea currently languishing in Congress to be enacted:
“In my first floor speech as a Member of Congress, I advocated in favor of the enactment of the pending free trade agreement with South Korea that has been stalled in Congress. I welcome the support of the Obama Administration for this important measure. As I said a month ago, expanding free trade and opportunities for commerce is critical during this difficult time of economic recession. Particularly for my district in Hawaii, expanding free trade with South Korea will directly help our number one industry: tourism.
“Yet there are more than just economic factors to consider. Given the instability of North Korea and given that my Congressional District lies in the flight arc of North Korea’s missiles, establishing strong ties with South Korea is more important than ever. Now is the time for a free trade agreement with South Korea and I urge the majority in Congress to put aside partisan interests and pursue what is in the best interests of the United States, South Korea and the entire Pacific region.”
Congressman Djou, a Member of the House Budget and Armed Services Committee, has made it one of his highest priorities to push for a free trade agreement with South Korea, not for the economic benefits, but, more importantly, because of the strategic interest the United States has in strengthening its alliance with South Korea. Recent news reports that North Korea may be formalizing a power transfer from Kim Jong-Il to his son Kim Jong-Un adds urgency to Congressman Djou’s push for this free trade agreement.
Congressman Djou delivered a statement on the House floor today regarding the news on North Korea as well as the free trade agreement with South Korea. That statement can be viewed here.
What they're saying about Free Trade with South Korea
Congressman Djou, on the House floor, May 28, 2010:
“We need to pass this because it is important for our economy – expanding free trade and opportunities for commerce for our nation is critical in this time of an economic recession. For my district in Hawaii expanding free trade will directly help the tourism industry, the number one sector of my district…”
President Obama, in Toronto, June 26, 2010:
“The last time I was in Korea, I said that I would be committed to moving this forward. And today I indicated to President Lee that it is time that our United States Trade Representative work very closely with his counterpart from the ROK to make sure that we set a path, a road, so that I can present this FTA to Congress.
“We are going to do it in a methodical fashion. I want to make sure that everything is lined up properly by the time that I visit Korea in November. And then in the few months that follow that, I intend to present it to Congress. It is the right thing to do for our country. It is the right thing to do for Korea. It will strengthen our commercial ties and create enormous potential economic benefits and create jobs here in the United States, which is my number one priority.”
Wall Street Journal editorial, June 28, 2010: “Korean Trade Epiphany”
One of President Obama's economic failures has been his refusal to press for trade expansion, even for trade deals that are obviously in America's strategic and economic best interests. So it's a relief to hear that Mr. Obama is saying he'll try to salvage the U.S.-South Korea trade pact he has assailed for three years.. What a concept: Freer trade can lead to more jobs and economic growth.
Passing such a deal won't be easy as long as Nancy Pelosi runs Congress, but perhaps Mr. Obama is anticipating a change there too.
Washington Post editorial, June 28, 2010: “Smart Trade”
RECENT EVENTS on the Korean Peninsula have demonstrated how vital the region is to U.S. interests and how dangerous it would be to neglect our democratic ally, South Korea…The U.S.-Korea Trade Promotion Agreement, negotiated during the George W. Bush administration, promises to shore up the U.S. position in the region both diplomatically and economically. But until now, the Obama administration, bowing to anti-free-trade sentiment in the Democratic Congress, has declined to pursue final approval of the agreement on Capitol Hill…To be sure, congressional opponents of the deal remain wary and determined. But Mr. Obama's wise decision vastly increases the chances for success. If he devotes even a fraction of the energy to passing this agreement that he dedicated to health care and financial regulation, it should win a large, bipartisan majority.
Dean Kleckner in Washington Times, June 28, 2010: “Seoul on ice”
This is a time for the United States to stand up for its longtime ally. The best way we can do this - and also take a concrete step that will have a real rather than symbolic impact - is for Congress to pass the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement. Now…Mr. Obama has talked up trade, but so far, his talk has not amounted to action. He came into office promising that his leadership would improve America's standing in the world. Right now, that means pushing for an economically responsible trade deal that would help a steadfast ally in a moment of crisis.
Congressman Djou, on the House floor, June 28, 2010:
“…Given the instability of North Korea and given that my Congressional District lies in the flight arc of North Korea’s missiles, establishing strong ties with South Korea is more important than ever. Now is the time for a free trade agreement with South Korea and I urge the majority in Congress to put aside partisan interests and pursue what is in the best interests of the United States, South Korea and the entire Pacific region.”