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Congress Passes Free Trade Agreements

Washington, DC
Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The House and Senate today approved trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama - after nearly five years of negotiations over the pacts. 

The votes in the House were: Colombia: 262-167; Panama 300-129; and South Korea: 278-151.  In the Senate, Colombia passed 66-33; Panama 77-22; and South Korea 83-15.

The trade bills had been hung up over differences between the Bush and Obama Administrations and Congressional Democrats and Republicans over worker rights and safety in Colombia, and concerns over U.S. workers who might lose their jobs as a result of less-expensive goods from the trading nations.

The Obama Administration renegotiated portions of the Colombia deal and Congress agreed to pass an aid program for displaced workers called Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) along with the trade agreements.

The trade agreement with South Korea will now be in place as that country's President meets with President Obama and addresses a joint meeting of Congress tomorrow.

Updated: Wednesday, October 12, 2011 at 8:33pm (ET)

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