There is much progress being made on increasing U.S. exports, and all of it will help our region create jobs and remain competitive in our global economy. In late 2011, BizFed Institute partnered with Korean American Chamber of Commerce LA and LA Metropolitan Hispanic Chambers of Commerce to celebrate the historic signings of U.S. Free Trade Agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.
- These agreements are estimated to support tens of thousands of jobs and boost U.S. exports by $13 billion annually.
The event at the Sheraton Downtown LA included remarks by Assistant Secretary of Commerce Michael Camunez, President’s Export Council Member Gene Hale, LA City Councilman Tom LaBonge, KACCLA President Edward Koo, LA Metro Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Chair Hugo Merida, and BizFed CEO Tracy Rafter. BizFed members in attendance also included Joe Ahn, Northrop Grumman; Randal Hernandez, Union Bank; Mohammed Islam, South Asian Business Alliance Network; Ben Lai, Greater Asian Business Federation; and Luis Vasquez-Ajmac, Maya Advertising.
In particular, the Assistant Secretary – who spent many years in Los Angeles as a partner in the law firm O’Melveny & Myers – noted the Free Trade Agreements not only lower tariffs, but strengthen Intellectual Property rights – particularly important for the entertainment industry – help level the playing field for U.S. companies, and include strong environmental and labor protections.
“Washington is doing what it can to leverage our strengths and compete with total tenacity overseas,” he told attendees. “…But Washington cannot create jobs – you can. You are the job creators.”
BizFed Institute Board Member Gene Hale, President of the Greater LA African American Chamber, also noted the opportunities created by the agreements: “These FTAs present tremendous opportunity to move to the next level. …. The work comes now in implementation. Just think of this: 85% to 95% of all the world’s consumers are outside the U.S. – that’s a tremendous opportunity to increase your business.”