Congress Gives Approval To Free Trade Agreements

US - Congress has approved free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama--ending a four-year stalemate in the forming of new trade partnerships.
calendar icon 14 October 2011
clock icon 2 minute read

The House and Senate voted Wednesday on the three trade pacts, which the Obama administration says could boost exports by $13 billion and support tens of thousands of American jobs.

The agreements would lower or eliminate tariffs American exporters face in the three countries. The House also passed and sent to President Obama a bill to extend aid to workers displaced by foreign competition. Obama had demanded that the worker aid bill be part of the trade package.

The votes come just a day after Senate Republicans were unified in rejecting President Barack Obama's $447 billion jobs creation initiative, and were hailed by lawmakers eager to show disillusioned voters that Congress can work with the president to help get the economy back on track.

The trade agreements, House Speaker John Boehner, said, are "an area of common ground where we have worked together."

The agreement with South Korea, the world's 13th largest economy, was the biggest such deal since the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada in 1994.

The votes were 278-151 for South Korea, 300-129 for Panama and 262-167 for Colombia. The Senate was scheduled to vote later Wednesday.

Farm groups were prasing the news on Wednesday. The National Milk Producers Federation and the US Dairy Export Council issued a joint statement saying the FTAs will create thousands of export-supporting jobs in the dairy industry by creating export opportunities that will be realized once the agreements take effect.

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) President, Bill Donalad, commented: “For too long, the trade agreements have been collecting dust. Congress has finally passed all three trade pacts and the only missing component is the president’s stamp of approval."

"NCBA has been a leader in educating members on Congress on the importance of these agreements to cattlemen across the country. We strongly urge the president to ratify the agreements.”

“This president wants to create economic wealth and repopulate rural America. Doing anything to stymie free and open trade will do anything but create jobs and opportunities for farmers, ranchers and small businesses,” said Mr Donald. “We support the president’s goal to increase exports. We need him to end the five-year delay and sign all three agreements.”

TheCattleSite News Desk

© 2000 - 2024 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.