NEC Applauds Obama for sending trade agreeements to Congress

Business group points to significant economic impact for New England states; Urges quick approval

BOSTON – The New England Council, the nation’s oldest regional business association representing over 400 businesses and organizations throughout New England, commends President Obama’s action yesterday to send the three pending free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama to Congress.  In letters sent to the New England Congressional delegation last month, the business group stresses the significant economic impact of exports to these three nations in the six New England states, and the potential for job creation if exports are increased.

“South Korea, Colombia and Panama each offer unique market opportunities to increase the export of goods and services from New England, and we applaud President Obama for sending the agreements with these nations to Congress for approval” said James T. Brett, President & CEO of The New England Council.  “The free trade agreements with these nations have been very carefully negotiated to include a variety of measures that ensure American interests are protected and appropriate labor and human rights safeguards are in place. Not only is there great potential for job creation in New England if the agreements are approved by Congress, but eliminating barriers to trade with these three nations will make the U.S. more competitive in the global marketplace.”

In the letters, the Council notes the significant economic impact of exports on the New England region, noting that, according to the International Trade Administration, in 2010, the New England region’s worldwide exports of goods and services totaled $56.2 billion, and thousands of New England jobs are supported by trade.

In particular, trade between the six New England states and Colombia, Panama, and South Korea, generates millions of dollars in export revenue, and supports over 6,000 jobs in the region:

*SOURCE: The Trade Partnership, Washington DC, from the U.S. Bureau of the Census and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Careful negotiations have led to important commitments in the implementation of these free trade agreements and we are confident that the Administration will ensure these commitments are met,” said Council President & CEO Jim Brett.  “We also are encouraged by recent congressional efforts that will allow for consideration of an extension of Trade Adjustment Assistance along with the three pending trade agreements. We urge Congress to act quickly on these economy-boosting agreements.”

For more information on The New England Council’s support of these free trade agreements, including samples of letters sent to the New England delegation, please visit the Business Competitiveness page of our website.

NOTE TO MEDIA: Data on economic impact of trade and jobs supported by trade with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea is also available by Congressional District.  Charts and graphs depicting the data provided in the tables above are also available.  Please contact Emily Heisig at or (617) 723-4009 for this information.

The New England Council, the country’s oldest regional business organization, is an alliance of businesses, academic and health institutions, and public and private organizations throughout New England formed to promote economic growth and a high quality of life in the region.  The Council is dedicated to identifying and supporting federal public policies and articulating the voice of its membership regionally and nationally on important issues facing New England.  The NEC is also committed to working with public and private sector leaders across the region and in Washington through educational programs and forums for information exchange.  For more information, please visit:


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