Today, Ambassador Kirk is continuing his visit in California. He was up bright and early this morning for two roundtable discussions.
At the breakfast roundtable, Ambassador Kirk joined Representative Diane Watson and local business leaders who are directly affected by trade. The attendees included representatives from the Korean-American Chamber of Los Angeles, the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach, National Resources Defense Council, and a representative from the office of California Assembly Speaker Emeritus Karen Bass.
Ambassador Kirk followed up one roundtable with another – this time, with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Korean-American business leaders at City Hall.
At both events, the Ambassador answered questions about the U.S.–Korea trade agreement, the President's National Export Initiativeand the positive effects of exports for California’s economy.
California is the second largest exporter of goods in the United States. Hundreds of thousands of Californians have jobs supported by exports. Those jobs often pay 13-18 percent more than the average national wage, which means new trade agreements are a golden opportunity for the Golden State.
Take, for example, the U.S.-Korea trade agreement. California is one of the leading states in both manufacturing and agricultural exports, and Korea is already California’s 5th-largest export market. The elimination of Korea’s tariffs alone will add an estimated $10-12 billion to the U.S. GDP and add $10-11 billion in U.S. exports to Korea. California’s entertainment industry will also benefit from stronger intellectual property rights protection under the trade agreement. The state's dockworkers and transportation and distribution workers will benefit from increased flows of trade in both directions. In other words, this agreement will have a direct positive impact on local businesses and workers in California. More money and more exports mean more jobs.
California is a state that thrives on trade. USTR is working to support the Golden State's economy and create well-paying jobs at home.