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. Jj

    its about oil?! sweet action! im a little man in producing parts for oil exploration! thats called job security. thank you

    October 13, 2011 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
  2. Glen

    Of course there was bipartisan support – both parties are getting there orders from the same behind the scenes central command. Whenever the powers that be want something changed to what's in their best interest, they give their republican and democratic party minions orders to have this seemingly inexplicable & miraculous bipartisan unity to get the bill passed. But when the ruling elite like things just the way they are where they, the super rich, continue getting ultra wealthy, at the expense of the rest of us, they order those same party minions to engage in intractable partisan gridlock.

    October 13, 2011 at 3:35 am | Report abuse |
  3. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    I just submitted a post of medium length about protectionism and acceptance of reality. It was rejected.
    Perhaps I used key words that the filter recognized, but I think that it was screened by a human.
    A call to reality is not a popular bit of entertainment.

    October 13, 2011 at 4:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Bimbo the Birthday Clown

      It may have contained a perfectly harmless word with the letters t i t somewhere in the middle. I've had several posts fail due to that. It's maddening.

      October 13, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. gung hoe

    After nafta and what a great suck sess that was.Well hell yes why not

    October 13, 2011 at 6:49 am | Report abuse |
  5. justathought

    What idots we have in government. How can they possiably say this creating jobs? If there needs to be a war on dugs perhaps we had better start at the capital, becaiuse these morons are on something and it isn't smart pills!

    October 13, 2011 at 7:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Dug Smith

      Hey! What did I do to deserve a war?

      October 13, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. justathought

    Is the illuminati (spelling ?) still alive and well?

    October 13, 2011 at 7:26 am | Report abuse |
  7. banasy©

    His, justathought.

    According to some, the Illuminati is alive and well, and behind every ill that befalls the world.

    Others, of course, blame Obama.


    This is still a stupid agreement.

    October 13, 2011 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
  8. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Good morning banasy, chrissy, and gung hoe.
    chrissy, you said you're changing parties. I presume that you're becoming Independent.

    October 13, 2011 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
  9. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    I still support Obama.

    October 13, 2011 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
  10. the prophet

    Obama will not wiin

    October 13, 2011 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
    • gung hoe

      Let's hope so! There is a slight problem, however, the Republicans still don't have any decent candidates to run against this Muslim-hating clown, sadly enough.

      October 13, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pest ConTroll

      Not gung hoe. It's the George Patton troll.

      October 13, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    No wonder so many Americans are out of work with all these stupid "free trade" bills. This is how American jobs get shipped abroad with people in thse countries willing to work for far less than the average American worker. Let's get rid of this idiot Obama and get a decent President for a change!!! Unfortunately, with the current Republican frontrunners, that is quite unlikely to happen next year. Woe to us!!!!!!!!

    October 13, 2011 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • gung hoe

      Good posting, Joey. You're quite right!

      October 13, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pest ConTroll

      Not Joey Isotta-Fraschine OR gung hoe. It's the George Patton Troll, talking to himself again.

      October 13, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Certainly NOT JIF at 9:46 AM!
    HOW MANY exclamation points, Troll?
    A skull-space is a terrible thing to waste.

    October 13, 2011 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  13. Jose Ortiga

    Half a true is also a lie. Colombia, Panama and Korea are between the World's largest clothes and car manufacturers. US exporters of some goods will be happy and the importers as well but some domestic manufacturers will close. Some big US car-makers will export to Colombia cars of their brand made in Korea. A Colombian-made jeans costs one half of the one made in USA. Why not telling the truth? This is a Global market and we are no "pendejos" or are we?

    October 13, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  14. George Patton

    There goes more American jobs out the window with this stupid "free trade" bill. While not helping the Latin American countries, this bill will only hurt American workers but Obama and his right-wing henchmen have to be politically correct!!!

    October 13, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pest ConTroll

      Hey, troll.

      October 13, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bimbo the Birthday Clown

    Decent paying manufacturing jobs are the first casualty of these types of agreements. I remember when NAFTA was first brought in, there was a lot of concern in manufacturing centers in both the US and Canada that jobs would be lost to Mexico, which of course happened. The theory, of course, is that industrialized countries don't need those jobs. We should have a highly skilled, technical work force, and let someone else handle the cheap , non-skilled labor. But if you end up losing YOUR job, that theory is worthless.

    October 13, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
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