NAM: EU and South Korea Free Trade Pact Gives Competitors Huge Edge Over U.S. Manufacturers; NAM Urges Action

24 Nov, 2010

Deal Reduces Barriers and Expands Market Access for Competitors and Will Cost Jobs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Vice President of International Economic Affairs Frank Vargo issued the following statement on the announcement of the European Union and South Korea free trade pact:  

“Today’s news that the EU and South Korea have signed their free trade pact comes as no surprise but is a stark reminder of how manufacturing in America is suffering as our competitors move forward. 

Two-thirds of our American exports are manufactured goods. Evidence shows that we benefit greatly from expanding our market access with trade agreements. According to Census Bureau data, manufactured goods exports in 2008 and 2009 produced a surplus of nearly $50 billion. This means we sold our trade agreement partners nearly $50 billion more in manufactured goods than we bought from them. But we have not signed a free trade agreement since 2007.

As the U.S. sits on the sidelines, nearly every other industrial nation in the world is achieving free trade agreements that reduce barriers to their companies, open markets and ultimately allow these nations to expand their economies. The EU-Korea agreement will cut industrial duties or taxes on their products. This puts U.S. companies at a disadvantage and costs jobs.  

Further, the EU and other competitors are negotiating free access to countries such as Argentina, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other rapidly growing markets. We are encouraged by the Administration’s comments on moving forward and reaching an agreement with Korea, but we need action soon. In addition, we are very pleased the Administration will begin free trade negotiations with Malaysia, which will be included in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). We urge the Administration to redouble its efforts to accelerate the TPP negotiations. 

We support the President’s goal of doubling exports in five years, but we believe expanding our market access is key to achieving his ambitious goal.   The NAM’s “Blueprint to Double Exports in Five Years” as well as our “Manufacturing Strategy for Jobs and a Competitive America” both detail why these actions are so critical to manufacturing. These documents are available at”


The National Association of Manufacturers is the nation’s largest industrial trade association, representing manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing has a presence in every single congressional district providing good, high-paying jobs. For more information about the Manufacturers or to follow us on Shopfloor, Twitter and Facebook, please visit