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Statement from USTR Kirk Regarding Announcement of House Ways & Means Committee Markup

Washington, D.C. – United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk issued a statement today regarding the scheduling by the House Committee on Ways and Means of informal or “mock” markups for three separate implementing bills for pending trade agreements between the United States and South Korea, between the United States and Colombia, and between the United States and Panama. From Ambassador Kirk:

“We welcome the effort to move the three pending trade agreements forward in the House. This is an important step forward in the process of approval of the agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama, which will contribute to job creation here in the United States. However, we note that the Ways and Means Committee documents released today do not provide a path forward for the bipartisan agreement to renew Trade Adjustment Assistance, and therefore are at odds with the Administration’s stated intentions for advancing a package that includes both the free-trade agreements and assistance for workers adversely impacted by trade. The Administration remains committed to advancing the renewal of a robust Trade Adjustment Assistance program that is the product of a bipartisan process, together with the pending trade agreements, as soon as possible."

The Administration is making available to the House Ways and Means Committee legislative language that renews Trade Adjustment Assistance, along with measures to implement the U.S.-South Korea trade agreement, as well as implementing legislation for trade agreements with Colombia and Panama.