March 18,2011

Press Contact:

Julia Lawless, Antonia Ferrier, 202.224.4515

Hatch on President’s Trip to Brazil, Chile, El Salvador

Utah Senator Urges President to Use Opportunity to See Positive Impact of Trade Agreements with Chile, El Salvador; Says U.S. Would Similarly Benefit from Agreements with Colombia, Panama

WASHINGTON –U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, issued the following statement today on the President’s trip to Brazil, Chile and El Salvador, the importance of bilateral trade agreements between the United States, Chile and El Salvador, and the need to pass the outstanding trade agreements with Colombia and Panama:

“Improving relations within our hemisphere is important to the economic future of the United States.  Over the past two decades, Presidents from both parties have worked together with Congress to create stronger ties through trade agreements - generating economic growth and jobs here at home.  In fact, two of the three nations President Obama will be visiting –Chile and El Salvador – have trade agreements with the United States.  Since our agreement with Chile went into force, our exports to that country have more than doubled, and our exports to El Salvador grew from $1.8 billion to $2.4 billion following implementation of our trade agreement. 

“The President should use this opportunity to see firsthand the positive impact these two agreements have had on the economies and stability of both of these nations and for American exports and workers.  The United States would similarly benefit from enacting the pending trade agreements with Colombia and Panama – agreements that have languished for years.  I urge the President to start working with us, so we can get these agreements approved by Congress soon. According to the U.S. International Trade Commission, the full implementation of these trade agreements would expand U.S. exports by over $1 billion.  Moreover, as the tariffs of Colombia and Panama are significantly higher than those of the United States, implementation of the U.S. – Colombia and the U.S. – Panama trade agreements would level the playing field for U.S. exporters. “