Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mockup on FTAs Face Onslaught of Amendments

Ahead of today's EST 3:00 p.m. "mock" markup hearing in the Senate Finance Committee, a total of 97 amendments were filed to the three Free Trade Agreement implementing bills: 79 on Korea, 15 on Colombia, and three on Panama.

The amendments range from proposals that enjoy considerable support in the business community (e.g., the Affordable Footwear Act) to many that are widely opposed.

Regardless of the views of a given association or company on any particular amendment, it is widely believed that approval of an amendment could significantly complicate the approval process for the FTAs. The U.S.-Korea FTA Business Coalition believes amending the implementing bills could seriously undermine passage of the agreement.

Given the timing of the hearing and the amount of amendments, there a serious risk that the Senate Finance Committee Chairman will not have a quorum present and that this could significantly delay consideration.

It is critical that Senators vote to approve the final implementing bill in order for these agreements to be ratified prior to the August recess.  We are rapidly running out of time for Congressional consideration this summer and we can ill afford to miss this window of opportunity.

The lists of amendments and separate documents with the amendments are below:

Korea FTA
Amendments to Korea FTA
List of Amendments of the Korea FTA

Colombia FTA
Amendments to Colombia FTA
List of Amendments of the Colombia FTA

Panama FTA
Amendments to Panama FTA
List of Amendments of the Panama FTA

Pierce County Publishes Final Redistricting Map

Pierce County has published its redistricting map for 2012 elections that will be in place until next drawn after the 2020 U.S. Census.  Already controversy has arisen on this effort.  You can read more here.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Breakthrough on Korea Trade Agreement

The U.S.-Korea FTA Business Coalition welcomed the announcement today by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Baucus scheduling mock mark-ups on the U.S.-Korea trade agreement and the pending trade agreements with Colombia and Panama, which brings these agreements one step closer to transmission to Congress for a vote.

"We applaud the Senate Finance Committee's action today to move forward with the U.S.-Korea trade agreement," said Tami Overby, vice president of the U.S. Chamber's Asia program. "The incredible potential through this agreement to support tens of thousands of American jobs, and generate significant new export opportunities for U.S. manufacturers, farmers, and services providers, has brought together unprecedented business, labor, and bipartisan support."

The U.S. International Trade Commission has estimated that the reduction of tariff and non-tariff barriers to U.S. manufactured and agricultural goods under the U.S.-Korea trade agreement would increase U.S. exports to Korea by $10 billion to $11 billion. The agreement has the potential to create as many as 280,000 jobs, according to an updated assessment of the agreement prepared by U.S. International Trade Commission economic staff at the request of the Senate Committee on Finance Subcommittee on Trade.

"Four years ago this week the Korea trade agreement was signed, but since then American workers and exporters have missed out on important opportunities to boost their competitive edge in Korea," said Overby. "With the European Union-Korea free trade agreement set to take effect this Friday, we cannot afford to delay any longer. We urge Members of the Senate Finance Committee to support this agreement so that Congress can approve it before the August recess to ensure that U.S. manufacturers, farmers, and consumers do not fall further behind as our global competitors move forward without us."

The U.S.-Korea FTA Business Coalition is a broad-based organization of nearly 1,000 U.S. businesses and trade associations, which includes the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, co-chaired by Boeing, Chevron, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and Pfizer, that are working together to secure approval by Congress of the U.S.-Korea FTA. The U.S.-Korea Business Council serves as Coalition secretariat.

Trade Adjustment Assistance for Workers: Restoring and Reauthorizing Trade Adjustment Assistance
The U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement: More American Jobs, Faster Economic Recovery Through Exports
Benefits of the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement
Benefits of the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement

Friday, June 17, 2011

Learn About Online Marketing!

The Chamber, in partnership with South Sound Washington Business Center, SBA, Tacoma SCORE, Signs By Tomorrow and KeyBank presents next Tuesday, June 21, “Entrepreneur Corner,” a free quarterly small business workshop. This quarter the discussion will be “Online Marketing”:

▪ Learn how to maximize your website and infrastructure requirements from experts in their fields.
▪ Find out how and why to register your business to obtain government contracts.

Presentations by: SiteCrafting, and the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC).

Entrepreneur Corner
Tuesday, June 21
11 am – 1:30 pm
Chamber Office: Simpson Community Room
950 Pacific Avenue, Suite 300
Tacoma, 98402

The workshop is complimentary and open to Chamber members and the public. Registration is required due to limited seating. To RSVP click here.

The free quarterly “Entrepreneur Corner” small business workshops are part of Operation Business Bootstrap. Anyone interested in learning how to expand and stay profitable in their business should check out the "Entrepreneur Corner"sessions.

Operation Business Bootstrap is a series of small business workshops; SBA Loan Briefings, Entrepreneur Corners, and Small Business Start-Up 101. This collaborative joint venture is presented by partners offering small business resources in our area. Partners include the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, SBDC, SouthSound Washington Business Center, PTAC, William Factory Incubator, City of Tacoma, Pierce County Economic Development, U.S. SBA and KeyBank. This series is for existing businesses who are seeking information and/or resources.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Nalleys Employees in Job Fair

A 93 - year Tacoma icon – Nalleys, as you have likely heard, is closing for good on June 25. Nalleys has 160 local employees who will lose their positions as a result of this closure.

We learned very recently that Nalleys is putting on a Job Fair for their employees to help them find employment after their doors close for the last time. The Job Fair is scheduled for this Thursday, June 9 – and as of today, they are still looking for local employers who may have a need for employees with a wide variety of skills (see attached letter).

Andee Handeland (, 253-591-3277 – office, 253-905-6006 - cell) is the contact if you have questions or would like to attend. A letter with all the details is available here. The employees are management and non-management, hourly and salaried.

If you are interested, this may be a great opportunity to find experienced employees in the local area. Thank you for considering this or for passing it along to the appropriate person in your organization.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Cong. Reichert at Chamber Trade Forum

CONGRESSIONAL FORUM: International Trade

Tuesday, June 7, 10 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Chamber offices
950 Pacific Ave., Ste. 300, Simpson Community Room
Tacoma, WA 98402



Cong. Dave Reichert, (WA-08) is appointed to the House Committee on Ways and Means. The Committee’s jurisdiction puts Reichert on the front line of efforts to address the economic crisis, strengthen our health care system, and enact free trade agreements.

Cong. Dave Reichert has made promoting international trade a keystone of his office, and a year ago was appointed to President Barack Obama’s Export Council. Reichert, who represents Bellevue and parts of South King and Pierce counties, has supported free trade agreements, particularly the Korea-United States Free Trade Agreement (also known as KORUS FTA). Congress is expected to consider the agreement soon.

Apr 29, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and the congressional delegation including Cong. Reichert, concluded their three-day trip to Seoul. The group met with leaders of South Korea’s Democratic Party and Grand National Party at Korea’s National Assembly to discuss the U.S.-South Korea Trade Agreement (KORUS).

The jurisdiction of the Subcommittee on Trade shall include bills and matters referred to the Committee on Ways and Means that relate to:
  • customs and customs administration including tariff and import fee structure, classification, valuation of and special rules applying to imports, and
  • special tariff provisions and procedures which relate to customs operation affecting exports and imports;
  • import trade matters, including import impact, industry relief from injurious imports, adjustment assistance and
  • programs to encourage competitive responses to imports, unfair import practices including antidumping and countervailing duty provisions, and
  • import policy which relates to dependence on foreign sources of supply;
  • commodity agreements and reciprocal trade agreements involving multilateral and bilateral trade negotiations and implementation of agreements involving tariff and non-tariff trade barriers to and
  • distortions of international trade;
  • international rules, organizations and institutional aspects of international trade agreements;
  • budget authorizations for the customs revenue functions of the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. International Trade Commission, and the U.S. Trade Representative; and
  • special trade-related problems involving market access, competitive conditions of specific industries, export policy and promotion, access to materials in short supply, bilateral trade relations including trade with developing countries, operations of multinational corporations, and trade with non-market economies.