Did you know that May, in addition to being Electrical Safety Month, is World Trade Month? And today is actually the final day of World Trade Week? This morning, in honor of the occasion, President Bush reminded us of some very clear concepts, including that many U.S. jobs and pay levels rely on U.S. manufacturers' and service providers' ability and competitiveness in exporting. You may see a snippet of coverage on your evening news tonight, with the President flanked picturesquely by U.S.-produced agricultural products and heavy equipment that face tariffs in foreign markets, including our patient free-trade-agreement-partners Colombia, Panama and South Korea. (Or you can watch video of the event, see photos and read his remarks via the White House website. Here is a photo I captured as the President worked the rope line following his remarks.)

Did you know that the President again called on Congress to take up and pass the FTAs, agreements that NEMA fully supports and is working to get approved because they augur new or expanded business opportunities for our manufacturers in all three countries?

Did you know that the leadership in Congress has refused to hold a vote on the FTAs?

Did you know that the President's remarks today also came in the context of further evidence this week that little progress is being made to break down foreign market barriers through the World Trade Organization? Did you know that here in Washington the political debate about trade has reached the Sunday comics page? It's exasperating, to say the least.

Over the Memorial Day holiday, outside Washington in the real world where things are actually grown and made, perhaps you will see your Senators and/or Representative at a town hall meeting or a barbeque. Bring trade into the conversation and tell them what you think and know.


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