Congress passes free-trade deals with 3 nations
The White House and Republicans say trade deals with South Korea, Colombia and Panama will create U.S. jobs.
October 12th, 2011
09:29 PM ET

Congress passes free-trade deals with 3 nations

[Updated at 9:28 p.m.] Congress voted Wednesday on a bipartisan basis to pass free-trade bills with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.

President Barack Obama, who dined Thursday at a Korean restaurant with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and is to welcome him Thursday on a state visit to the White House, sent the trade deals to Congress last week.

The White House, Republicans and big business groups have said the deals would create jobs in the United States. The deals could spur $13 billion annually in new exports and "support tens of thousands of jobs," a senior administration official has said.

In a statement issued by the Office of the Press Secretary, Obama called the agreements "a major win" for the nation. "Tonight's vote, with bipartisan support, will significantly boost exports that bear the proud label 'Made in America,' support tens of thousands of good-paying American jobs and protect labor rights, the environment and intellectual property," he said, promising to sign the bills.

In a separate statement, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the agreements "will make it easier for American companies to sell their products to South Korea, Colombia and Panama, which will create jobs here at home."

Union groups and some Democrats have opposed the bills, expressing doubt that they would create jobs.

The U.S. agriculture industry has been calling for the free-trade agreement, which could open new markets for beef, wheat and soybeans. The U.S. auto industry is also watching, as the deal with South Korea would mean a decline in tariffs aimed squarely at Detroit automakers.

House Republicans have voiced support for the deals.

"These three trade agreements will support American jobs and help create opportunities to expand for American businesses," Speaker John Boehner said last week in a statement.

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Filed under: Colombia • Panama • Politics • South Korea
soundoff (127 Responses)
  1. M.K.

    We can gripe about the economy until doomsday, but as long as the gripers keep on voting for the America hating Republicans, it will never get any better. They thump the bible and wave the flag every time an election rolls around and then go to Washington and kill the working class.

    October 12, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |

      Well said MK!

      October 12, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • clnee55

      Why republican when the bill is drafted by Obama and NAFTA was signed by Bill CLinton. Both dem and gop are responsibsle but dem does a better job blaming gop.

      October 12, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • b

      it's both parties, asshat. you just happen to be part of the kool-aid drinking Oblame-o crowd.

      October 12, 2011 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. delos

    Come on people be real, we can beat the system just buy what you need to get by and leave the rest of the trash on the shelves, You just beat the crap out of netflix, your working on beating the crap out of the bank.
    We really don't need bjg business or the goverment to change the game. So man up and grow some LEAVE THE CRAP ON THE SHELF. as simple as that. OR DON'T YOU HAVE THE STONES. IN THAT CASE GROVEL AS YOUR DOING NOW BECAUSE THE 1% REALLY DOESN'T REALLY GIVE A CRAP ABOUT YOU.

    October 12, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • TomTom

      I have been saying for YEARS.... you could have a REVOLUTION in just being a smart consumer.
      Also I went to the CIA's website where you can compare countries from every thing to mortality, imports, exports and so on. I found the BANK ACCOUNTS of the Countries... China is #1 with something like 147 trillion (CASH) America is DEAD LAST... 135 TRILLION in the NEGATIVE. Dad always told me, want to find the problem? Follow the MONEY

      October 12, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Brad

    Why have we not learned with China..? Being discussed right now in the Senate is China manipulating its currency at the EXPENSE of American jobs. With all of our technology, education, everything we have accomplished. We cant understand that in the long run free trade is nothing for the US? I would gladly pay more for items, than to see what this country has become. Jobless.

    October 12, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. M.K.

    Everybody should start voting against every Republican in every political office in the country and see what happens. If it doesn't get better, do the same to the Democrats and write in a vote for Mickey Mouse. get the lying, bible thumpers out of politics or suffer the consequences in silence.

    October 12, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kurt

      You are about as dumb as they come! This was a bipartisan sellout, Now MK that means both repubs and dems were in on it! Now, should repeat this a little slower for you understand or are you TOTALLY BRAIN DEAD! Both parties, including your Dems are the enemy to the american working class! Get it?

      October 13, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. New age 2012

    There goal is to bring the western world to collapse. Everything is dirty. Corps, banks, even religious and educational systems. Know this your politicians are nothing but puppets, speakers for a dark deeper side of things that humanity is awakening too. Everyone will see. That very soon events on a large scale will happen and we are going to be made aware of things that will blow us away. Hold on to your hats.

    October 12, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • M.K.

      I suppose its a good thing the average person does not know the rotten details behind every election because he or she would let it drive him to drink, or worse.

      October 12, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • khalief

      okey-dokey nostradamus, i'll keep my hat in hand

      October 12, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. nitridr

    So now we have another bill that takes jobs away from us the working people of America. Free Trade is NOT FREE. Free Trade costs us jobs. How much more does it need to cost before we stop the insanity? Do not vote for the teapublicans. They only want FREE trade so they can make even MORE and do not care about us the working people. If they really did care about us they would try to protect us and our JOBS. So now they sold our jobs to foreigners and make even more. And you like it?

    October 12, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. exodus84

    They said the same thing about all the other FTAs that theyve signed and theyve dont the polar opposite! This country is run by fascists working with the corporations to enrich their own lives while the rest struggle. You can count on this garbage COSTING the US more jobs and more trade deficits. We need to export our government!

    October 12, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Badly-Bent

    I hope this issue is taken up by the Occupy groups. It is a national shame that the conservatives are just throwing struggling Americans under the Free Trade bus – Without any retribution!

    October 12, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. M.K.

    Would someone tell me just what the so- called conservatives are conserving.

    October 12, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. M.K.

    How many of you have ever been polled by one of the so-called top polls?

    October 12, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |

    The trade deals are nice.....but they will benefit in 5 yrs.....not now........The GOP must go....They said no to a The American Jobs Acts bill, now it's time to say no to their jobs.
    Obama 2012!!!

    October 12, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. M.K.

    Heres a good one, How mant commercials does CNN average per hour?

    October 12, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. M.K.

    Sorry about that, I meant to say how many commercials does CNN average per hour.

    October 12, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dave

    I read where this Free Trade Agreement allows the US to selll 75000 Autos in Korea and allows them to sell 575000 here in the US. Man thats a free trade agreement if I ever heard one. This is what Obama has been bragging about for so long. Wow, I think we could have did without this.

    October 12, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Badly-Bent

    My guess is now that China wage rates are on the rise the top 1% in America want to make sure they can move that work to even cheaper foreign labor countries. Our economic numbers should dramatically improve as unemployment soars! Yeah for the American Aristocracy!

    October 12, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
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