Congressman Dan Benishek (MI-01) today praised the U.S. House of Representatives passage of international trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea.
"I view these agreements as a key ingredient in helping the job market in Northern Michigan. Once the president signs this bipartisan agreement, job-providers in Northern Michigan and elsewhere in the nation will be able to sell their goods and services to these expanding markets," said Benishek, an Iron Mountain native who is serving in his first term in Congress.
Benishek stated that with the unemployment rate stagnated at 9.1% nationally and above 13% in Michigan's First District, implementation of these three trade agreements would provide businesses new opportunities to hire additional workers.
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, over 5,400 jobs in Michigan's First District are directly supported by international exports. Additionally, the Chamber has stated that some 30,000 small-and mid-sized American companies could benefit from increased exports to South Korea, Colombia and Panama.
"When travelling in Michigan's First District, I have been told by regional business owners that opening these new markets would allow them to expand their businesses. Entrepreneurs in like Oldenburg Group Incorporated in Iron River and Kingsford believe they can hire more workers when these deals are in place," added Benishek.
"The passage of these trade agreements is great news for exports and should make a significant impact on our business in the Upper Peninsula. We compete all over the world and this will help us win," stated Dr. Tim Nerenz with Oldenburg Group Incorporated, a global supplier of engineered heavy equipment and architectural lighting products with facilities in Iron River, and Kingsford.
The House passed the international trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea by votes of 262 to 167, 300 to 129, and 278 to 151, respectively.