This evening the Senate will hold a cloture vote on the Generalized System of Preferences bill and the NAM has been urging all Senators to vote in favor of this bill which moves us another stop closer to passing the job creating free trade agreements with Colombia, South Korea and Panama. The GSP bill passed the house by voice vote on September 7th and has always enjoyed bipartisan support.

Earlier today the NAM sent a letter to Senators urging their support:

The NAM views extension of GSP as important to advancing our nation’s manufacturing competitiveness and international leadership. It is also a vital step in the process of advancing the trade policy we believe is necessary to open markets for America’s manufacturers and to create jobs in the United States. The program, which expired on December 31, 2010, helps keep U.S. manufacturers and their suppliers competitive. The vast majority of U.S. imports using GSP are raw materials, parts and components, or machinery and equipment used by U.S. companies to manufacture goods in the United States for domestic consumption or for export.

Passage of the GSP bill will allow Congress to move forward with action on Trade Adjustment Assistance and on the free trade agreements once President Obama sends them to Capitol Hill, which we urge him to do as soon as possible.

The longer we wait to pass the agreements the more market share we lose to our competitors overseas. The facts are clear that these agreements will create jobs and provide a much needed boost to our economic recovery. Manufacturers need action now, we can no longer afford to wait.

Frank Vargo is vice president for international economic affairs, National Association of Manufacturers.