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. fearlessdude

    It is under YOUR control. Look at the label. If it is not made in the USA, don't buy it. But all you iPhone and iPad junkies keep buying those "Made in China" gadgets.
    The latest flood is ugly furniture made in China.

    October 12, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me

      That's hilarious! What cell phone is made in the USA??

      October 12, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • alan

      That will certainly save me gas money, because there is no sense going shopping if I only plan to buy American made products. Where do you go to buy such products btw?

      October 12, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. M.K.

    The problem with voting is, you are damned if you do and damned if you dont.

    October 12, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Badly-Bent

    Since the government has become a traitor to our national interests, we should scuttle the ships carrying all that tea!

    October 12, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Badly-Bent

    FearlessDude – Partly right and I don't buy made elsewhere when I can. But, the conservatives have been successful in prohibiting country of origin labeling. You really don't know where it came from.

    October 12, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. 60minuteman

    How did the House find time to vote on this Anti-american, pro-corporation "free trade" bill, between all of their anti-abortion votes?

    October 12, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me


      October 12, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jack

    BOOO!!! I hope Obama doesn't sign this trash, putting another nail in the coffin of the financial future of our children. Free trade with nations that have workers that get paid 50 cents an hour DOES NOT CREATE AMERICAN JOBS! It causes American companies to hire workers there to sell the products here and make more profit. DO NOT SIGN!

    October 12, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • M.K.

      I heard that!

      October 12, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • barbara

      Obama is the one who sent these deals to Congress. Another example of rampant corruption in DC. These deals won't create any more than the others did. All BS.

      October 12, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. chrissy

    wow and i have been an avent supporter for obama since the beginning but this is just a trainwreck for job building in usa. time to switch parties

    October 12, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jeff

    This is nuts, the free trade agreements we have now have out us in the mess we are in now. Geeeeez.

    October 12, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Badly-Bent

      You got that abso-ucking-lutely right!

      October 12, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • M.K.

      Jeff Buddy, you are right on. To hell with free trade. I will trade you a gallon of gas for three dollars and seventy nine cents. is that free trade? What in the hell is wrong with the voters in this country?

      October 12, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. john

    I thought that the Repubs were against free trade deals, am I mistaken? If they are for it it must somehow be bad for us. they haven't done anything that has helped Americans in 12 years.

    October 12, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • steveinpocon

      Repubs LOVE free trade deals ... i think its a pack of lies and Obama is bendiong over for the repubs again....

      October 12, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me

      Republicans LOVE anything against the American worker for their bed buddies....

      October 12, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • M.K.

      John, your prose is O.K., but your math needs attention. How about thirty years

      October 12, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. steveinpocon

    Oh yeah ,,,, gonna create jobs.... don't tell me, let me guess ... the check is in the mail and you will respect me in the morning .... LOL... its the magic words, the corporate mavens say jobs and we all salivate like pavlov's dogs. I don't buy it at all. Hope it fails. Lets see jobs first this time.

    October 12, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. muhrvis

    At last, we're going to have the millions of good jobs we desperately need because we have signed yet more free trade agreements... ... Yes, I am being sarcastic.

    October 12, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Irene

    Nothing new under the moon. My major was history and I shall never stop proclaiming that history (not the interpretations but hard cold facts) is the most precise science ever. Since the dawn of times every great empire had walked the same path and reached the same end – common people build their nation together, rise equal, strong and advanced. Then the few, the strongest, the most ruthless and the greediest forget about those who put them on top, get drunk on power and money and never go sober again, throw some bread and circuses into the crowd which initially enjoys easy life and cheap goods and labor, lose every last but of decency and... the empire begins to rot. From the head. From Romans to French monarchy, and dozens in between. You name it. When the stench of that rot becomes strong enough it attracts all kinds of scavengers and once great empires get ruined, drown in bloodshed and go into the oblivion, often overpowered by the barbarians, and that part of the world gets thrown a few ages back. Current establishment loses wealth and heads but the next one never learns... This vicious cycle seems to be embedded in human nature.

    October 12, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Badly-Bent

      Hey, I'm all for handling it the "French Way".

      October 12, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. M.K.

    There is one thing for sure, the hypocrites cannot vote in congress until you vote them in office. Think about that for a minute or two.

    October 12, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Anonymous

    Most of the worlds consumers live outside our borders. We cant just shut ourselves off from the outside. We need them to buy our goods. If we ignore the millions of consumers in the growing middle classes of Asia and South America, someone else is going to swoop in and get their business instead and we miss out on great potential for growth in these new markets. The more goods businesses sell, the more people they can higher, and we benefit from lower prices on imported goods, If you have a low skill job that is easily exportable and someone in another country is willing to do that job for less (half the worlds population has less the $2 a day to survive on), guess what, they deserve it. Protectionism does not work.

    October 12, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Badly-Bent

      Takee your plaitudes where they will fall on willing ears. We are too busy trying to survive here.

      October 12, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Stephen

    I'd rather trade goods with other countries than see us use drones on them. Free and fair trade between nations promotes world peace.

    October 12, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Badly-Bent

      Shouldn't you be having some of your mom's apple pie?

      October 12, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
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