A resolution by Republican State Sen. Tom Harman in support of the U.S.- South Korea Free Trade Agreeement was rejected Monday by members of the Senate Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development.
"The free trade agreement means tens of thousands of jobs for California," said Harman, whose district includes Fountain Valley. "This agreement has the tightest labor and environmental provisions of any free trade agreement ever negotiated. There is no reason why any California legislator, when our state has a 12 percent unemployment rate, would reject the opportunity to add jobs to our economy."
Originally signed in 2007, the agreement would eliminate 95 percent of all tariffs between South Korea and the U.S. within five years, as well as create other new economic protections for multi-national companies. The agreement was never ratified, but President Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak revived it in June of last year, reaching a tentative agreement in December.
Harman's resolution was granted reconsideration, and will be heard again next week. "With 2 million Californians out of work, we need jobs," he said. "This agreement translates to jobs and an improvement in our trade relationship with a willing trade partner. I urge Congress to stand with President Obama and U.S. trade representative, Ambassador Ron Kirk, to ratify this agreement as quickly as possible before the United States is caught playing catch-up with the rest of the world."