The Ways and Means Committee is the key House committee for the FTA. The next Ways and Means Chair is likely to be Republican David Camp of Michigan, and he wants more on autos.
Camp and the current chair, Democrat Sander Levin (also from Michigan), released a short joint statement on the FTA Thursday:
Further negotiations will succeed only if South Korea adopts concrete steps to open its market to U.S. exports. While there are other unresolved issues, nowhere is this more evident than in the dangerously lopsided trade in automotive vehicles. In 2009 alone, South Korea exported more than 476,000 autos to the U.S. while fewer than 6,000 U.S. vehicles managed to get through Korean trade barriers. There is a basic principle at stake with a very practical impact on American jobs. When U.S. industry has the ability to compete, we can succeed. But we must insist on open, reliable access to another country’s market, as our market is open to their goods. It was essential for our government today to deliver a strong message by insisting on a two-way street for trade with South Korea. (Camp's website)
Kim Dixon and Doug Palmer quoted Camp to similar effect the day after the election:
"I think it's up to the Koreans to decide whether they really want to have an agreement or not," said Representative Dave Camp, who is expected to become chairman of the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee next year.
"I think particularly in the auto sector, as well the beef sector, those have been the two problem areas that we need to see some progress in," Camp said.
Camp has just won his 11th term representing Michigan's Fourth Congressional District. The Fourth District includes central and northwest Michigan. This is rural and small town Michigan. "Visitors heading north from Lansing and Grand Rapids for summer fishing or winter skiing encounter the small towns dotting the landscape and sugar beets, red tart cherries, corn or potatoes growing in the fields. Agriculture, tourism, and recreation fuel a large portion of the area's economy." (Camp's website)
But as Dixon and Palmer note -
...Camp's stance on South Korea shows how important regional influences can be.
His home state of Michigan remains the heart of the U.S. auto industry and has the second highest unemployment rate in the country at 13 percent.