Arlington, VA - The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) applauded Congressional action yesterday by the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee to approve the pending trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea in mock markups of the draft implementing bills. Now that the committees have provided their guidance on the FTAs, RILA urges the Administration to formally submit the FTA implementing bills to Congress as soon as possible so Congress can approve the agreements before the August district work period begins. Stephanie Lester, vice president of international trade, issued the following statement.
"We welcome this action by the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees. These informal markups are an important component of the Trade Promotion Authority process, and we strongly support these actions to approve the FTAs and finally move the trade agenda forward. RILA also urges Congress and the Administration to resolve outstanding differences over the process to renew Trade Adjustment Assistance so that the FTAs can be quickly approved with strong bipartisan support.
“American merchants and consumers cannot afford any further delay as these trade agreements will provide meaningful benefits to both consumers and businesses. Domestic economic growth and job creation are dependent upon open access to new markets and new sources in the global economy. Tearing down trade barriers will create thousands of new jobs as American businesses compete to buy and sell goods and services to customers around the world.
“We thank Congress and the Administration for their continued bipartisan support for a proactive trade agenda,” concluded Lester.
RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.