Council’s Free Trade Advocacy Reaps Reward
Sure we are just one region in a big country, but the Bay Area Council justifiably celebrated its contributions pushing the rock up the hill to secure the free trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia that Congress approved Wednesday. We have been the State Department, White House and South Korea, Panama and Colombia consulate’s go-to group in Northern California for the agreements over the past several years. We have also pushed the agreements on every trip we have taken to D.C. in recent years. That was partially why Demetrios Marantis, the U.S. Deputy Trade Representative, had such a big smile when we visited him in the White House last week. The President had just sent the agreements to Congress. South Korea is California’s fifth largest export market and the new pact will expand opportunities for California tech and agricultural products and financial and healthcare services, among others. The agreements came just ahead of data from the U.S. Commerce Department showing California has enjoyed two straight years of trade growth, including double-digit increases since last year.