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September 2011

September 18, 2011

Politico

By Sen. John Thune, (R-SD)

Washington should learn from America’s successful high-tech companies by being more responsive to changes in the global marketplace. That includes adopting policies that help those businesses to compete, grow and hire. For instance, President Barack Obama should submit the pending free-trade agreements with Panama, Colombia and South Korea so Congress can approve them. In addition to expanding trade, these agreements contain protections for the intellectual property that are vital to the success of our tech companies.

September 15, 2011

U.S.-Colombia FTA Will Support Jobs and Increase Exports for Companies and Farmers in Texas

September 19, 2011

Southeast Farm Press

Alabama Farmers Federation President Jerry Newby has urged Congress to quickly pass trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama that could boost exports and create jobs. “For more than four years, agreements have set in Washington while other countries negotiated bi-lateral trade deals that cut into the market for U.S. goods,” said Newby. “Now is the time to act. If lawmakers don’t pass the trade agreements this fall, U.S. businesses — especially farmers — will be at a competitive disadvantage with other nations.”

September 19, 2011

Council on Foreign Relations

A new CFR Task Force Report on U.S. Trade and Investment Policy asserts that free trade is essential for the United States to maintain its economic competitiveness in an increasingly global economy. Moreover, with U.S. unemployment stuck above 9 percent, President Barack Obama is urging Congress to approve new free trade agreements as part of his plan to create jobs. While some congressional Democrats oppose the president, former Democratic Senate majority leader Thomas A. Daschle, co-chair of the CFR report, says the United States needs to enact a "robust" free trade agenda.

September 19, 2011

Daily Caller

Congress moved closer to approving new free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea after a procedural vote in the Senate Monday afternoon. By an 84–8 vote, the Senate passed a cloture motion on the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) — a trade measure that would allow 129 countries duty-free access to certain American goods. Business groups and Republicans have pressed for passage of the trade agreements, saying they will increase revenue and create jobs.

September 15, 2011

Korea Times

Korea has signed an exclusive partnership contract with Colombia, called the Look Asia Project and is expected to be worth more than $10 billion. Korea's Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE) agreed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) Thursday with its Colombian counterpart on the sidelines of a summit between the two nations. Under the agreement, the two will cooperate on a big project to develop oil fields in eastern Colombia and build infrastructure such as pipelines, refiners and harbors so as to ship crude energy to Asia.

September 20, 2011

Times Free Press

If you need a job and want a job but don't have one, you surely would like to hear any reasonable proposal for creating some good job opportunities. It is no solution for the federal government just to tax everybody who does have a job, and then use some of the money to create more government jobs or to subsidize "make-work" private jobs. We want real jobs producing goods and services that meet real market demand -- and that are beneficial not only to the job holder, but also to the company for which he works and to our economy and people as a whole. So some recent proposals by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to create jobs deserve attention.

September 19, 2011

AFP

The US Senate on Monday advanced a key trade measure seen as critical to the eventual passing of stalled free trade deals with Colombia,Panama, and South Korea. President Barack Obama and his Republican foes agree that approving the three agreements will spur job growth in the US economy,which has been struggling with 9.1 percent unemployment. But Obama and his Democrat allies have also called for renewing an aid package, known as Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), for US workers hurt by overseas competition, before passing the three pacts.

September 19, 2011

Associated Press

A half-century-old program that helps workers who lose their jobs to foreign trade holds the key to whether Congress finally approves three long-delayed free-trade agreements viewed by both the Obama White House andcongressional Republicans as a way to invigorate the economy and create jobs. It’s a classic Washington trade-off. Many Democrats don’t like the trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama but are open to votes if Congress extends expired provisions of the Kennedy-era Trade Adjustment Assistance program. Republicans are cool to program but won’t object as long as the trade deals are completed.

September 19, 2011

Reuters

Supporters of free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama hope the Senate action will help set the stage for President Barack Obama to formally submit the pacts to Congress for votes. "With this vote and subsequent votes in the Senate this week, we will be one step closer to passage of the long-stalled trade agreements with Colombia, (South) Korea and Panama," the National Foreign Trade Council business group said in a statement.

September 19, 2011

The Hill

The Senate voted 84 to 8 on Monday to move forward with a bill to renew an expired program that provides for cheaper American manufacturing by establishing tariff-free exports on some manufacturing inputs to the United States from over 120 developing countries. The fairly noncontroversial legislation’s larger purpose in the upper chamber, however, is to serve as a vehicle for the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), a program which is aimed at helping workers who lose their jobs due to international trade.

September 20, 2011

Des Moines Register

By Calvin Rozenboom, Executive Committee Member, U.S. Meat Export Federation

When you realize 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside our borders, it is clear that international trade is vital to a vibrant U.S. economy. Trade supports American jobs. Agricultural exports alone supported about 1.1 million American jobs last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That’s farmers, ranchers, truckers, exporters and more.

September 15, 2011

U.S.-Colombia FTA Will Support Jobs and Increase Exports for Companies and Farmers in New Mexico

September 15, 2011

U.S.-Colombia FTA Will Support Jobs and Increase Exports for Companies and Farmers in North Carolina

September 17, 2011

Wall Street Journal

By Andrew H. Card and Tom Daschle, Co-Chairmen, Council on Foreign Relations-sponsored Independent Task Force on U.S. Trade and Investment Policy; and Matthew J. Slaughter and Edward Alden, Co-Directors,Council on Foreign Relations-sponsored Independent Task Force on U.S. Trade and Investment Policy

Yet the United States—the country that fathered the modern world trading system—today has no real trade policy. Free trade agreements completed several years ago with South Korea, Panama and Colombia have yet to be approved by Congress. The Doha world trade talks have been dying a slow death for years. And the U.S. has let the European Union, Canada, China and other countries take the lead on trade opening with many of the fast-growing economies of Asia and Latin America. What has gone wrong?

September 19, 2011

Wall Street Journal

Ten years after Brazil, Russia, India and China were dubbed the BRICs, any early mover advantage for investing in those economies has long gone.mBut lovers of acronyms will be relieved to learn the latest investment theme claiming to steal a march on emerging markets also has a catchy name: CIVETS. The so-called CIVETS group of countries—Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa—are being touted as the next generation of tiger economies, even if they are named after a more shy and retiring feline mammal.

September 17, 2011

The Providence Journal

By James T. Brett, President and CEO, New England Council

New England is home to countless goods and services, from fresh seafood to cutting-edge medical devices, that are in demand around the globe. And so the New England Council, representing over 400 businesses and organizations, is encouraged by progress toward approval of three free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama. Each agreement offers unique market opportunities to increase the export of goods and services from New England and create job opportunities.

September 19, 2011

Bloomberg Businessweek

President Barack Obama should seek more power from Congress to negotiate free-trade agreements, according to a panel that included former Senator Tom Daschle, an adviser to Obama’s 2008 campaign. The Council on Foreign Relations trade task force, led by Daschle and Andrew Card, the White House chief of staff under Republican President George W. Bush, called for the administration to adopt a trade strategy with stepped-up enforcement of international rules and retraining for workers hurt by overseas competition. Obama was also urged to seek a renewal of “fast-track” authority for particular trade deals to speed action in Congress.

September 16, 2011

Huffington Post

By Tom Donohue, President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

While the jobs plan President Obama proposed last week contains some ideas that American business supports, it falls short. It focuses too much on government spending and temporary tax breaks and too little on the trade, energy, tax, regulatory and entitlement reforms that will jolt our economy and job market back to life. He was right to call for passage of the long-pending free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. But the United States should also be vigorously negotiating new trade and investment agreements around the world.

September 16, 2011

Xinhua

China and Colombia have taken significant steps toward strengthening their bilateral trade and are expected to soon start negotiations on a free trade agreement, a Colombian economist and diplomat said Thursday. Enrique Posada, director of the think tank Asia-Pacific Virtual Observatory and vice president of the Colombia-China Friendship Association, told Xinhua in an interview that "the intense dynamics" between the two countries have made it possible for trade talks to start at any time.

September 16, 2011

Roll Call

By Rep. Lynn Jenkins, (R-KS)

Another effort that seems to have strong support and where we can have the biggest effect on American jobs in the shortest amount of time would be to pass the three pending free-trade agreements — with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. In today’s global marketplace, it is essential that we make every reasonable effort to open foreign markets to American products.

September 16, 2011

Wall Street Journal

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said Friday he hopes the Senate will move quickly on legislation to renew funding for workers displaced by trade, as discussions intensified to take up the bill at the beginning of next week. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D., Nev.) said he expects the Senate on Monday will to begin debating a bill the House passed last week to renew duty-free access for imports from developing countries, with plans to attach the funding for the job retraining program known as Trade Adjustment Assistance.

September 15, 2011

U.S.-Colombia FTA Will Support Jobs and Increase Exports for Companies and Farmers in California

September 15, 2011

U.S.-Colombia FTA Will Support Jobs and Increase Exports for Companies and Farmers in Colorado

September 15, 2011

U.S.-Colombia FTA Will Support Jobs and Increase Exports for Companies and Farmers in Florida

September 22, 2011

Associated Press

The Senate is close to passing legislation to help workers displaced by foreign trade, a bill that has become the last obstacle to congressional action on three free trade agreements. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid scheduled the final vote on the bill extending provisions of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program for Thursday. The Senate vote would send the bill to the House and should result in the White House submitting the three trade bills to Congress for approval.

September 22, 2011

Bloomberg

The Senate is scheduled to vote today on renewing benefits for workers who lose their jobs to foreign competition, a step that would open the way for President Barack Obama to submit three free-trade agreements. Lawmakers plan to consider a scaled-back version of Trade Adjustment Assistance negotiated by Senator Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, and Representative Dave Camp, a Michigan Republican as an amendment to a bill renewing tariff preferences for developing nations.

September 25, 2011

Sun Sentinel

By Carlos Buqueras, Director of Business Development at Port Everglades

We applaud our Broward County Commission and U.S. legislators who have let the Obama administration know that they support pending free-trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. Passage of these free-trade agreements will strengthen our Port's commerce in these trade regions and position us to benefit from increased Transpacific trade projected with the expansion of the Panama Canal.

September 23, 2011

The Wall Street Journal

By Ed Gerwin, Senior Fellow for Trade and Global Economic Policy at Third Way, and Bryan Riley, Jay Van Andel Senior Policy Analyst in Trade Policy at the Heritage Foundation

Washington has been doing much the same with pending trade deals with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. While the many supporters of these trade deals have been battling and bickering, America’s international competitors have been running up the score – and America’s companies and workers are losing out.

September 23, 2011

The ChamberPost

By Myron Brilliant, Senior Vice President for International Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

It’s as simple as Congress passing the pending trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama.  By opening up these three markets, companies both large and small will be able to compete in an expanded marketplace, with millions of new consumers for their products.  In fact, one in three manufacturing jobs depends on exports, and one in three acres on American farms is planted for hungry consumers overseas.  These trade agreements will allow the 97% of the quarter million small and mid-sized firms that are already exporting to further grow their exports, leading to increased profits and hiring.

September 26, 2011

AGweek

Agriculture exports are critical to farmers and are essential to the prosperity of the overall U.S. economy. Free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama have been stalled for several years, causing major trading opportunities to diminish. Economic analysis, performed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, estimates that annual direct U.S. agricultural exports to South Korea, Colombia and Panama will increase by nearly $2.5 billion upon full implementation, whichwill create approximately 22,000 U.S. jobs.

September 26, 2011

LA Times

Many Colombians are arriving at the same conclusion. According to government figures, Colombian builders sold 152,000 new houses and condos last year, up 30% from 2009. Through July of this year, new unit sales nationwide were up 19% over the same seven months last year…. The region's commodities boom will push Latin America's economies to grow at roughly triple the U.S. rate this year. The ripple effects of booming sales of copper, iron ore, coffee, oil and soybeans are lifting not just the housing market, but also auto sales, foreign travel and purchases of computers and other durable goods.

September 23, 2011

Detroit News

The CEOs of more than 30 major companies — including Michigan-based Ford Motor Co., Dow Chemical Co., Whirlpool Corp. and Amway Corp. — on Friday urged Congress to quickly approve pending free trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia…."The pending trade agreements will level the playing field by giving American companies like ours and our workers enhanced and preferential access to these key growing markets in Latin America and Asia," they wrote.

September 26, 2011

Huntsville Times

John McMillan, commissioner of the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, is calling on President Obama to send free -trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama to Congress for approval…. "To get these jobs, Obama has to send these agreements to Congress and they've got to approve them," McMillan said. The chances for the approval of the pacts did improve last week, with some developments in Congress, he said.

September 27, 2011

Times Record News

By Joe Parker, Jr., President, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association

If there is one thing politicians can agree on, it is that America’s current economic and job situation is downright bad, and we need to do something immediately to begin fixing it. Ratifying the stalled free trade agreements (FTA) with Panama, Colombia and South Korea is one sure-fire way to give this economy the boost it needs without a taxpayer-funded stimulus.

September 27, 2011

The Foundry

By Charles Kaupke, Member of Young Leaders Program, The Heritage Foundation

Panama and Colombia are growing trading partners in Latin America, and the United States puts itself at a disadvantage when other nations engage in free trade and the U.S. doesn’t. Brady said if the United States wants to maintain its status as an economic world leader, it must keep up with the pace of other nations and expand its participation in the world market.

September 28, 2011

Lexington Herald-Leader

Republicans in Congress and President Barack Obama want to spur economic growth by signing three free-trade agreements this year. In Kentucky, makers of autos, bourbon and chemicals — as well as the state's farmers — stand to gain from the lowering of barriers to U.S. exports.

September 29, 2011

Wallaces Farmer

The U.S. House of Representatives could soon take up a bill key to freeing up the three stalled free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. Those deals are worth billions in new sales for U.S. agriculture. American Farm Bureau trade adviser Chris Garza says the House GOP and White House are still trying to come to terms on a plan to move the trade deals and provide help for trade-displaced workers through Trade Adjustment Assistance.

September 25, 2011

Erie Times-News

By Sen. Pat Toomey, (R-PA) and John Macaulay, Manager of GE Transportation’s Erie Plant

Pennsylvania companies exported more than $1 billion in products to South Korea, Colombia and Panama in 2009. Currently, most products from these three countries enter our ports duty free, while American products headed there face restrictive import taxes upon arrival. By ratifying free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, we could eliminate virtually all of those countries' import taxes on U.S. goods immediately, as well as end other regulatory, licensing and government-imposed barriers to trade and exports.

September 25, 2011

Montgomery Advertiser

By John McMillian, Commissioner, Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries

Alabama has a significant stake in increased trade with South Korea, Panama and Colombia, as there is strong demand for our agricultural and forestry products among these three nations….When you consider that economic impact analyses are on record as saying 350,000 new American jobs will result from passage of the agreements, this should be a no-brainer for Obama.

September 22, 2011

The Hill

The Senate on Thursday will likely take an important step towards considering trade agreements with Colombia, South Korea and Panama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) suggested Wednesday evening. “We think we are on path to complete this important piece of legislation in the morning,” said Reid. “Then we will move to other matters regarding trade as soon as we can.”

September 21, 2011

CNBC

Free trade agreements with Panama, Colombia and Korea are before Congress this week and both sides of the aisle are dueling it out as to why (or why not) these agreements would be spark (or kill) US job creation. On Friday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee will be holding a hearing on this very issue. One of those testifying before the committee is Myron Brilliant, senior vice president for International Affairs at the U.S. Chamber. I asked him what he thinks about these agreements and if they are needed to help revive the US economy.

September 21, 2011

Southeast AgNet

There has been some movement in the senate giving reason to believe that the FTAs with Colombia, South Korea and Panama could be passed soon, but in the meantime Colombia Ambassador Gabriel Silva says the delays have no doubt hurt US Agriculture.

September 20, 2011

Montgomery Advertiser

John McMillan, commissioner of the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries today called on President Barack Obama and Congress to approve free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. The agreements, which would reduce or eliminate tariffs, import quotas, and preferences on goods, represent millions of dollars for the state’s ag industry, McMillan and others said.

September 20, 2011

Dow Jones Newswires

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said Tuesday he expects free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama to be submitted to Congress soon, as debate got underway on a tariff bill that could pave the way for passage of the long-delayed trade pacts. The top Senate Republican urged President Barack Obama to quickly send up the trade deals, but said Congress should also renew fast-track authority allow the president to pursue more trade pacts.

September 23, 2011

Wall Street Journal

By Ed Gerwin, Senior Fellow for Trade and Global Economic Policy, Third Way

Washington has been doing much the same with pending trade deals with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. While the many supporters of these trade deals have been battling and bickering, America’s international competitors have been running up the score – and America’s companies and workers are losing out.

September 22, 2011

Inside U.S. Trade

Following a high-level review led by Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro, the Obama administration last week announced that Colombia has fully complied with its commitments under the labor action plan that were due in July and mid-September. "Colombia continues to meet its milestones for the action plan," a USTR spokeswoman said in a Sept. 15 e-mail. The labor action plan serves as a basis for advancing the U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement. Sapiro met with senior Colombian officials on Sept. 12 and 13 to fulfill the labor action plan's requirement that U.S. and Colombia officials meet every two months at the technical level and once at the senior level before the end of 2011 to review the plan's implementation. Attending the meeting were Colombian Ambassador Gabriel Silva, Vice Minister of Labor Javier Parga, and presidential adviser Catalina Crane, according to USTR.

September 23, 2011

Bloomberg

“We await the president’s submission of the three trade agreements sitting on his desk so the House can consider them in tandem” with the aid and preference programs, Boehner, an Ohio Republican, said in a statement yesterday. “If the president submits these agreements promptly, I’m confident that all four bills can be signed into law by mid-October.”

September 22, 2011

Bloomberg

Colombia’s economy expanded at the second-fastest pace in three years in the second quarter, led by mining, commerce, and transportation. Gross domestic product rose 5.2 percent in quarter from a year earlier and 2.1 percent from the January-through-March period, the statistics agency said today. Growth matched the median estimate of 27 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The agency revised year-on-year GDP for the fourth quarter of 2010 to 5.4 percent from 4.8 percent and to 4.7 percent from 5.1 percent for the first quarter of 2011.

September 22, 2011

Colombia Reports

The European Commission has approved the European Union's free trade agreement with Colombia and Peru, international media reported. The agreement will now be passed to the European Council and Parliament for final ratification. "I can confirm that the FTA with Colombia and Peru has been approved by the college of commissioners," a source told Spanish news agency EFE. The adoption of a proposal by the college of commissioners signals the end of the first of three stages of being passed into E.U. Law.

September 23, 2011

Leading CEOs and Textile Organizations See FTAs as Job-Creating Agreements

September 28, 2011

Colombia Reports

A new JP Morgan survey named Colombia as the second most promising country in Latin America for investment over the next three years, but determined that it will need to improve its investor relations before it can meet these expectations. In a survey of 40 institutional North American and European investors, participants’ optimism towards Colombian investment opportunities was second only to Brazil. Nearly 40% of surveyed investors pointed to the Colombian market as highly promising, largely because its economy is emerging.

September 18, 2011

Politico

By Phillip J. Bond, President and CEO,TechAmerica

Fourth, once we develop the best technology here at home, we need to sell it to the rest of the world. We need to expand markets for American technology exports. High-tech products are our nation’s largest overseas export, composing 17.8 percent of all our exports and supporting more than 900,000 U.S. jobs. By moving the long overdue free-trade agreements with Panama, South Korea and Colombia forward, our nation will send a strong message that it is serious about opening markets and supporting the growth of global trade.

August 30, 2011

Washington Post

President Obama and most congressional Republicans agree that the three free-trade agreements between the United States and Colombia, South Korea and Panama would boost U.S. exports and promote U.S. economic growth. Alas, they still have not passed Congress because of partisan politics.

September 7, 2011

Reuters

Nearly a dozen Republican senators on Wednesday urged President Barack Obama to quickly send Congress three long-delayed trade deals that they said would help put Americans back to work. "If the president really cares about jobs, he will send up the agreements immediately," Senator Rob Portman told reporters, referring to deals with South Korea, Panama and Colombia signed more than four years ago.

September 7, 2011

The Root

As President Obama's chief trade adviser and negotiator, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk also has the tricky task of promoting free trade at a time when soaring unemployment has Americans anxious to protect U.S. markets. The challenge doesn't rattle Kirk, who empathizes with public suspicion -- even arguing that "people have reason to be angry" over weak enforcement and jobs lost overseas -- but insists that global trade done right can add thousands of American jobs.

September 8, 2011

Delaware News Journal

He also called on Congress to pass free-trade agreements with Panama, Colombia and South Korea. All three ideas are solid and should be pursued -- right now, to repeat the president's rhetorical refrain.

September 9, 2011

Southeast Farm Press

Wheat growers and other agricultural producers continue to press for immediate enactment of the agreements, particularly as other countries implement their own free trade measures.

September 8, 2011

Reuters

"Now it's time to clear the way for a series of trade agreements that would make it easier for American companies to sell their products in Panama, Colombia and South Korea -- while also helping the workers whose jobs have been affected by global competition," Obama said in a speech to Congress on jobs and the U.S. economy.

September 8, 2011

Reuters

A top U.S. business group on Thursday said it expected President Barack Obama and Congress to work together to approve three long-delayed free trade agreements in the next six to eight weeks.

September 8, 2011

The Hill

President Obama is expected to call for, once again, the passage of three pending free-trade agreements in Thursday night's speech to Congress, a move likely to evoke more grumbling from Republicans. The White House and some congressional lawmakers see eye-to-eye on the trade deals with Colombia, South Korea and Panama, yet they are unable to agree on the process to get the job done.

September 11, 2011

New-Leader

By Rep. Billy Long (R-MO)

Right now the White House is sitting on three free trade agreements: Panama, Columbia and South Korea. It is estimated that by pursuing these agreements we wouldcreate up to 250,000 jobs, and many of those would be right here in southwest Missouri. Jobs would be created as our companies are allowed to compete....Fourteen million Americans are out of work. Four million have been out of work for over a year. We don't have time to wait. We need to make the U.S. the best place in the world to run a business again. And by pursuing these free trade agreements and other common-sense solutions for our job creators we will be on the right track.

September 11, 2011

The Ledger

By Lloyd Dunkelberger

Some may take it as a sign of the apocalypse, but Gov. Rick Scott and President Barack Obama agree on a major issue facing the nation. They both want Congress to approve free-trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. But, of course, there are differences over how those agreements should be shaped, reflecting the reason why the pending agreements have languished in Washington while the Democrats and Republicans squabbled over the details. Approval of the agreements — for which Obama called in his speech on Thursday night — could provide a big economic boost for Florida.

September 12, 2011

Kyodo News Service

Japanese and Colombian leaders agreed Monday to explore the possibility of signing a free trade agreement…. In an attempt to strengthen economic ties, the two countries signed a bilateral treaty aimed at promoting and protecting private investment and agreed to launch a joint FTA study, Noda told reporters after the meeting.

September 10, 2011

Associated Press

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is visiting Miami to talk about jobs and how international trade agreements impact the economy. Miami-Dade County officials say Vilsack is touring the Port of Miami on Saturday. Joining the agriculture chief will be local business and farm leaders. Officials say he will also talk about how the port and trade can create jobs in Florida. Vilsack is also expected to discuss the status of free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.

September 7, 2011

Associated Press

A House vote Wednesday to extend an expired trade program for the world's poorer countries lays the groundwork for what could be more politically important consideration of three free trade agreements that both the White House and congressional Republicans say could help put Americans back to work.

September 8, 2011

Reuters

The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to renew a long-standing program that allows about 130 developing countries to export thousands of goods to the United States without paying duties. House Speaker John Boehner said he hoped President Barack Obama would build on the success of passing the trade bill by submitting three long-delayed free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea to Congress for a vote.

August 29, 2011

Santa Fe Radio Café

September 5, 2011

Miami Herald

Only in today’s bitterly partisan atmosphere in Washington could this happen: A job-creating bill with plenty of support from Republicans and Democrats remains in limbo because the two sides can’t agree on a procedural matter involving a related issue. Is there no sign of intelligent life inside the Beltway? We are referring, of course, to the three stalled free trade agreements between the United States and Colombia, Panama and South Korea. 

September 5, 2011

Washington Post

By Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

According to the White House, President Obama has been huddling with advisers on a jobs plan he’ll present to Congress this week. One thing he could do immediately is finalize the free-trade deals with Colombia, South Korea and Panama that have been languishing on his desk.

September 4, 2011

My San Antonio

By Antonio O. Garza, Former Ambassador to Mexico

The long-pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea may finally appear soon before Congress for approval. But few things in Washington are certain, so free trade advocates are advised to take nothing for granted.

September 4, 2011

Star Tribune

…Kirk, a tall, slow-talking man with a Texas drawl, has spent most of the past year crisscrossing the United States, trying to explain to skeptical Americans why free trade agreements with foreign countries are in their best interest…. He sat down with the Star Tribune recently to explain why he hopes Congress will support trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, as well as renewal of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act, which provides government assistance to retrain workers displaced from their jobs by foreign trade.

September 2, 2011

Wall Street Daily

Specifically, there are seven things the government could do to jump start the U.S. economy by simply getting out of the way of the private sector: 7. Free trade. Congress has held up three trade treaties – two with major trading partners, Korea and Colombia – since 2007. The treaties would bring new growth opportunities. Meanwhile, Korea and Colombia already have signed trade treaties with the European Union (EU) and will focus more of their trade in that direction.

September 1, 2011

Dow Jones

 U.S. business groups voiced renewed confidence Wednesday that lawmakers would pass free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama when they return from recess next month. "I think everybody's ready to do it," U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Executive Tom Donohue told reporters in laying out the leading trade group's jobs agenda.

September 1, 2011

Truth about Trade

Every time progress has been made on advancing the Korea, Colombia and Panama free trade agreements (FTA) through Congress another roadblock appears. With agreement on how to move trade adjustment assistance (TAA) for workers and businesses, the way appears to be clear for passing the agreements. The next step is for the Obama Administration to formally send legislative proposals for the FTAs to the House and Senate.

September 8, 2011

Wichita (KS) Eagle

President Obama likely will be met with considerable GOP resistance when he presents his jobs plan to a joint session of Congress tonight — especially if it involves spending more money. But one action that he and Republicans should agree on is finalizing trade deals with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.

September 8, 2011

Miami Herald

By Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)

There is no denying the positive impact that our long-delayed trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea would have on our economy.  They would add around $14 billion to our economy, and increase exports by over $12 billion annually.  According to the White House, the Korea trade deal alone would create 70,000 American jobs.   The White House understands the economic benefits that would come from enactment of these agreements.  Yet while millions of Americans suffer in a weak recovery with stalled job growth, the President inexplicably sits on them. 

September 7, 2011

Focus Must Be On Job Creators

By Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

We should also level the playing field with overseas competitors by approving the free-trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea that have been languishing on the president’s desk. These pacts would help create tens of thousands of jobs here by vastly expanding the market for U.S. goods.

September 10, 2011

Press Register

Alabama Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan added his voice Friday to those pushing President Barack Obama and Congress to pass free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. "We need the opportunity to open up more trade," said McMillan, who spoke in the doorway of a port warehouse filled with rolls of fluff pulp made by Georgia-Pacific LLC in Monroe County. The pulp, used as absorbent filling in diapers and similar products, is one example of an agricultural product exported from Alabama. McMillan said he believedAlabama also had an opportunity to sell more poultry, beef and peanuts to the three countries.

September 10, 2011

The Daily Journal (IL)

Kirk talked about the American Jobs Act that President Barack Obama announced Thursday….Free trade would benefit Illinois farmers raising cattle for beef, said Kirk, because the agreement would open U.S. beef sales in South Korea where it is now banned. Because Colombia already has agreements with Canada, free trade with the country would also benefit Illinois corn farmers, said Kirk. "It will really help the marketing of U.S. corn," he said.

September 13, 2011

Embassy of Colombia

During his visit to Japan, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced a Joint Study for an Economic Partnership Agreement between the two countries. Santos said the time is right to consider such an agreement, as Colombia’s economy offers numerous opportunities for trade and investment. The proposal is seen as the first step towards a bilateral economic partnership agreement.

September 15, 2011

The Korea Times

Korea and Colombia agreed Thursday to finalize a free trade agreement by the end of the year to promote bilateral trade and investment, a year before the 50th anniversary of their establishment of diplomatic relations. So far, Korea and Colombia have held four rounds of negotiations. The two leaders agreed to make a joint effort toward the ratification of their respective free trade accords signed with the United States, which are pending at U.S. Congress, as soon as possible.

September 13, 2011

Roll Call

By Sarah Dewan, Director of Globalization and International Employment, The Center for American Progress

Trade has been a significant driver of economic growth, and expanding exports is important for job creation, but trade also comes with painful dislocations that threaten the livelihoods of many workers and their families. This is why Congress and the White House must ensure that the passage of the three pending free-trade agreements is accompanied by the renewal of the May 2009 Trade Adjustment Assistance package, which provides all workers with these essential services they need to get back on their feet.

September 15, 2011

Yonhap

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos pledged Thursday to significantly boost relations between the two countries and seek an early conclusion of a free trade agreement, officials said. In particular, the two leaders also agreed during summit talks in Seoul to work closely together to get their respective long-pending free trade pacts with the United States ratified by Congress as early as possible, officials said.

September 14, 2011

The Hill

Republicans took to the Senate floor Wednesday to urge the Obama administration to immediately send three pending free-trade agreements to Capitol Hill.  The floor speeches are part of a campaign by the GOP to pressure the White House to reach an agreement with House leadership on passing a worker-aid program that would free up the trade deals for congressional votes, a move supporters argue will create jobs in the stagnating economy.

September 19, 2011

Richmond Times-Dispatch

During the recess, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced they would hold votes on crucial trade agreements. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor quite properly said he would not hesitate to schedule votes when the agreements officially arrive in Congress. The soybean editorial above indicates the value of global trade. Free trade pacts between the U.S. and South Korea, Colombia and Panama have languished for many months. Unionists opposed the deal with Colombia with unenlightened vigor.

September 18, 2011

Wichita Eagle

Good for Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., for pushing for the approval of trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia. The agreements were reached during the Bush administration but have been held up by labor concerns and by the GOP’s defunding of a program that helps workers and companies negatively affected by trade deals.

September 17, 2011

Chicago Tribune

 Despite the nonstop, confidence-deflating partisanship on Capitol Hill, Congress may be ready to settle one of its long-standing differences and — surprise! — do something that helps put America back to work. Free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama are only one small compromise away from winning approval. Let's get it done. These deals have languished for years, costing U.S. consumers and robbing U.S. businesses of opportunities to grow.

September 15, 2011

Alabama Press-Register

This is why we join Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan in his call for President Barack Obama and Congress to approve free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. As a port city, Mobile stands to benefit from these pacts, which enjoy bipartisan support. Millions of Americans need jobs, and free trade could provide some of them. It’s estimated that the trade agreements,negotiated during the Bush administration, would create tens of thousands of jobs. What’s more, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says the pacts would protect 380,000 other jobs that America can’t afford to lose.

September 15, 2011

Truth About Trade & Technology

In his State of the Union address last year, Obama appealed for congressional approval of the trade deals with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea. He repeated his call for these pacts in this year’s State of the Union. And he did it once again last week. “Now it’s time to clear the way for a series of trade agreements that would make it easier for American companies to sell their products,” said Obama in his latest high-profile speech. “If Americans can buy Kias and Hyundais, I want to see folks in South Korea driving Fords and Chevys and Chryslers.” This makes sense. One study shows that for every $1 billion in new exports, the U.S. economy gains 6,000 jobs. So obviously Congress should enact these agreements “right away.”

September 19, 2011

Roll Call

By Sen. John Hoeven, (R-ND)

We also need to create a good environment for trade. We have free-trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia that have been pending for three years. Together, they reduce tariffs on the order of 85 percent and represent more than $13 billion in export opportunities for American businesses, farmers and ranchers every year. Most importantly, they represent more than a quarter of a million American jobs. The administration needs to bring those agreements to the Senate and House for ratification. It’s time we take them from pending to passed.

September 14, 2011

The Hill

By Michael L. Ducker, CEO, FedEx

This is why it is so critically important for the South Korea, Panama and Colombia free-trade agreements to pass. With almost 14 million Americans out of work we can no longer allow these agreements to languish as other regions continue to beat us to the market. It’s been two-and-a-half months since the European Union began trading with South Korea and almost one month since Canada signed an agreement with Colombia. If the United States doesn’t follow suit and lower tariffs for American goods and services, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates we may lose nearly 400,000 jobs and $40 billion in export sales in these two countries alone.

September 15, 2011

Embassy of Colombia

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos visited Seoul, on Thursday for a meeting with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak. The two leaders made a commitment to advance the Colombia-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in the coming months. “I would expect – and I will give my Ministers these instructions – to have the agreement finalized by the end of this year or, at the latest, by the beginning of next year,” said Santos.

September 9, 2011

Orlando Sentinel

In job-starved Florida, President Barack Obama's nationally televised address to Congress sparked renewed hope on Friday that a burst of federal spending and tax incentives would prompt companies to begin hiring again. Business leaders welcomed Obama's proposal to extend and expand a cut in payroll taxes and to dispense tax credits for hiring the unemployed. They were especially enthused about his call to ratify long-awaited trade pacts with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, which could expand Florida's share of the world market.

September 9, 2011

South Florida Business Journal

“I want to see more products sold around the world stamped with the three proud words: Made in America,” Obama said. As a major exporting hub and an area of the economy that has thrived during the recession, exporters in South Florida could benefit from passage of these trade agreements, said J. Antonio Villamil, dean of the St. Thomas University    business school. In addition, with an unemployment rate of 11.3 percent in July, South Florida needs jobs. For those exporting to Colombia and Panama, it would be a net plus, as most goods from those countries are already imported duty-free, Villamil added. Passage of the trade agreements could also mean significant job growth in the Sunshine State.

September 13, 2011

U.S. Chamber Magazine

The U.S. Chamber is stepping up its efforts to ensure that pending trade bills, including a controversial bill to provide assistance to American workers displaced by trade, pass Congress in the coming weeks. “We’re going to do everything we can to get these deals done in the next six to eight weeks,” said John Murphy, U.S. Chamber vice president for International Affairs, at a briefing for reporters on September 8. Congressional approval of pending free trade agreements (FTAs) with Colombia, South Korea and Panama is the cornerstone of the Chamber’s six-part plan to create jobs.

September 13, 2011

Yonhap

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos called Tuesday for an early conclusion of free trade talks with South Korea, hopefully by year's end, saying that a pact would greatly help strengthen commercial ties between the two countries. In a written interview with Yonhap News Agency ahead of his official visit to South Korea this week, Santos also said that Bogota hopes to upgrade its relations with Seoul to a "comprehensive and cooperative partnership" as the two nations will mark the 50th anniversary of establishing diplomatic ties next year.

September 13, 2011

Monsters and Critics

US President Barack Obama was optimistic Monday about the chances that free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama may be ratified by the US Congress 'before the end of the year.' Obama told a small group of news agencies including the German Press Agency dpa at the White House that he thinks there are enough votes in both houses of Congress for the agreements to pass.

September 12, 2011

Reuters

Trade Representative Ron Kirk said on Monday he was hopeful the Congress would pass long-delayed trade deals with South Korea, Panama and Colombia before the United States hosts an annual summit meeting for Asia-Pacific leaders in November. "Our goal has always been to get them done as soon as possible and that hasn't changed," Kirk told reporters after remarks to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.

September 12, 2011

Wall Street Journal

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said Monday talks on passing free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama are focused on the Senate, where the administration hopes to renew funding for a job-retraining program. The timing of any votes on the three trade pacts will depend on how soon a deal can be reached to pass the retraining program, known as Trade Adjustment Assistance, he said.

September 12, 2011

The Birmingham News

Alabama's agriculture commissioner today called on the federal government to ratify three free trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia to help boost trade and create thousands of jobs in the state. John McMillan, commissioner of the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, held a press conference at downtown Birmingham's Innovation Depot urging movement on the trade agreements.

September 14, 2011

Arirang TV

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has called for his country and Korea to sign a free trade agreement as soon as possible stressing that a trade pact would greatly boost commercial ties.

September 13, 2011

Bloomberg

Japan and Colombia signed an agreement for the protection of investments and began analyzing an accord to reduce barriers to trade. The agreement was signed by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos during a trip to Japan, according to a statement today on the presidential website. He will travel to South Korea tomorrow to discuss a free-trade accord with the Asian country.

September 13, 2011

Reuters

A senior Republican lawmaker said he was optimistic the U.S. Congress would pass three long-delayed trade deals with South Korea, Panama and Colombia "very soon". Representative Kevin Brady said his understanding was the White House, Senate leaders and House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner have agreed on a "very tight process" for moving the trade deals and a separate bill to renew Trade Adjustment Assistance."

September 16, 2011

Philadelphia Business Journal

By Rachel Carson, CEO, Helicopter Tech Inc.

My company demonstrates that the trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, which President Obama wants Congress to pass, will build Pennsylvania businesses, grow our economy, and help create much-needed local jobs. As the CEO and owner of Helicopter Tech Inc., a King of Prussia-based aircraft replacement parts company supporting both fixed and rotor wing aircraft, my company exports 10 percent of its total products toover 23 countries.