Obama Submits Three Trade Deals to Congress

Posted October 3rd, 2011 at 5:35 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. President Barack Obama has sent three long-delayed trade agreements to Congress for ratification.

The deals involve the countries of South Korea, Colombia and Panama. Negotiated by Mr. Obama’s Republican predecessor, President George W. Bush, they are predicted to boost annual U.S. exports by $13 billion.

In a White House statement Monday, Mr. Obama said the agreements will make it easier for U.S. companies to sell their products to those three countries. He also said they will support tens of thousands of American jobs.

The delay in submitting the agreements to Congress was caused by the opposition of some Democrats, especially to the deal with Colombia. They voiced concern about violence against labor unions in that South American nation.

Republican leaders in Congress predicted quick passage of the agreements, possibly as early as this month.

The trade deals could be approved along with legislation that would extend financial benefits to U.S. workers who lose their jobs because of foreign competition.

Mr. Obama has pledged support for increased foreign trade as a way to boost U.S. job creation and improve the sluggish American economy. The three deals could heavily impact U.S. agriculture, automakers, financial services, and legal and health care companies — as well as increase exports of American-made products to South Korea, Colombia and Panama.