Bill Carteaux, president of the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. in Washington,was present today when President Obama formally signed into law legislation for the South Korea, Colombia and Panama free-trade agreements.
Here's a photo of Carteaux at the Rose Garden ceremony. Carteaux and Jon Kurrle, SPI's senior vice president for government and industry affairs were part of a group of business leaders who joined Obama after the bills were signed in the Oval Office.
"I am honored to be invited to the White House to celebrate these trade agreements because SPI's advocacy team, aided by our dedicated members, worked countless hours and made, literally, hundreds of Capitol Hill visits in support of these agreements," Carteaux said in a statement prepared prior to the ceremony.
"I know I will feel proud and have a real sense of accomplishment because the signing ceremony will represent the end result of a long advocacy process that involves being engaged with Congress from the start and making sure our industry's collective voice is heard. SPI has long-supported these pro-growth measures and they create a more level playing field for the U.S. plastics industry and increases our competitiveness in these three countries."
The trade agreements eliminate the barriers U.S. exporters face in these three markets. SPI released these plastics-relevant facts about the deals and the markets:
The U.S. International Trade Commission has estimated that the U.S.-South Korea FTA alone will generate $10 to $11 billion in additional exports, and every additional $1 billion dollars in exports creates 6,000 jobs.
South Korea is the 10th largest export market for U.S. plastics. Since 2000, plastics exports to South Korea have increased by 44 percent.
Colombia is the 16th largest export market for U.S. plastics. Since 2000, plastics exports to Colombia have increased by 163 percent.
Although not presently a top market for the U.S. plastics industry, Panama has shown tremendous growth potential as well. Since 2000, plastics exports to Panama have increased by 107 percent.
Here's a copy of a video of Obama's remarks, where he mentions the plastics industry's interest in the trade deals:
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