New York Times
All three bilateral agreements would bolster relations with important allies. And American exporters should be concerned that while Washington dawdles, other countries are going ahead with their own trade deals. South Korea and the European Union have an agreement, as do Colombia and Canada…The United States, which once carried the mantle for open trade, not only needs to avoid trade brawls. It also must stand up to protectionist pressures around the world and make the case that for the world economy to recover, it needs an open trading system.
[The Colombia, Panama and South Korea free] trade agreements have better prospects – good news for the American companies and workers who would benefit from expanded exports, and for the American consumers who would benefit from more choices in the marketplace…The finalization and swift congressional approval of all three pacts should be among Mr. Obama's highest priorities for 2011.
Minneapolis Star Tribune
The treaties would improve export and employment prospects as well as offer an immediate path to bipartisan outreach.
South Korea Is a Start
South Korea Is a Start
The New York Times / With protectionist policies gaining dangerous traction everywhere, the global economy needs a strong champion of free trade. After neglecting the issue, President Obama has now committed to winning approval of a free-trade pact with South Korea that was signed by the Bush administration in 2007 but never voted on in Congress because of staunch Democratic opposition.
The White House is hoping to renegotiate several aspects in time for Mr. Obama´s trip to Seoul this week, with a goal of presenting a new deal to Congress early next year. The president must not stop there. Trade deals with Colombia and Panama have also languished without Congressional action. And he must press to revive stalled global trade negotiations.
All three bilateral agreements would bolster relations with important allies. And American exporters should be concerned that while Washington dawdles, other countries are going ahead with their own trade deals. South Korea and the European Union have an agreement, as do Colombia and Canada.
Getting these trade deals through Congress won´t be easy, although Mr. Obama may find new allies in the Republican-controlled House. American trade unions, an important Democratic constituency, are decidedly unenthusiastic. When it comes to South Korea, American carmakers and ranchers are demanding that the White House win broader market access for them.
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