(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) released the following statement on the three free trade agreements being considered in the U.S. Senate.
“As a Senator from the most trade-dependent state in the nation, I have seen first-hand the strong and positive impact that free trade can have to help local businesses expand and create jobs. So at a time when Americans are looking to Congress to do everything we can to get our workers back on the job, I am proud to support these free trade agreements that will give our economy a much-needed boost and help businesses and workers in Washington state and across the nation.
“From our aerospace industry building cutting-edge planes and supplies, to our high-tech industry creating the latest in software and hardware, to our agricultural industry whose products are second-to-none—Washington state’s economy depends on an open and fair international market to move our products into the hands of consumers. Ninety-five percent of the world’s population lives outside of the United States, so it is essential that the United States continues to access new markets to create jobs here at home.
“Although I feel very strongly that these free trade agreements are a strong net benefit to Washington state’s businesses and workers, I also understand the concerns of the many workers who have not felt the gains from trade, and who are too often forced to compete on an unfair playing field.
“So while I will continue to work for fair free trade agreements that will create jobs and open up markets to Washington state products—I also believe that as a nation, we need to do a better job of supporting the workers impacted by international trade. That means a strong support system and unemployment benefits for those who have lost their jobs. But even more importantly, it means making sure that we are truly investing in our workers and making sure they have the skills and training they need to compete and win in the 21st century global economy.
“Although I support these deals, I am very concerned about Colombia’s history of violence and intimidation against labor activists in their country. While Colombia has made progress, I strongly urge the Colombian government to adhere to the Labor Action Plan they have agreed to, and I urge the U.S. Trade Representative to watch this issue closely to make sure all aspects of the deal are being carried out as agreed upon.”