Congress passes raft of free-trade deals
October 12th, 2011
09:40 PM ET
11 years ago

Congress passes raft of free-trade deals

Washington (CNN) - 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.

- CNN's Ted Barrett contributed to this story.

Filed under: Congress • Trade
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. CAWinMD

    Great. We've passed some free-trade bills that might create "tens of thousands" of jobs, or put another way, create as many jobs as we've been creating on a monthly basis on average over the past year. Meanwhile, Republicans voted down an effort to create over a million jobs yesterday. What exactly is the message here?

    October 12, 2011 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  2. Tired of the nonsense

    If it puts me back to work, I'm for it.

    October 12, 2011 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  3. Debbie

    I'm not confident that US companies will create jobs here for goods sold there. I think companies will sell there and send jobs there. I would have to see it to believe it and at this point I don't believe in anything Congress does.

    October 12, 2011 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  4. Ancient Texan

    This is the plan that President Bush asked the Democrats to approve years ago, and Pelosi refused to introduce the bill for a vote. Now it's Obama's Idea.?

    October 12, 2011 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  5. dnick47

    More jobs lost over seas.... Whoopie!!!!.... Recovery headed the wrong way: ie, due south!

    October 12, 2011 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  6. Terry, VA

    Can't believe he signed something that was on his desk when Bush left ofiice. I guess Obummie is going to take credit for something Bush did. What a hypocrite.

    October 12, 2011 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  7. honest tp

    So they pass a free trade bill or bills. At the same tim tp and rep party trying to gather 2500+ troops to take over ny park friday by moving in after cleaning.

    October 12, 2011 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  8. Rick McDaniel

    Of course, we all know, that is going to cost us jobs in America. Count on that.

    October 12, 2011 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  9. BB

    Thats really good! but will the deals create jobs immediately?

    October 12, 2011 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  10. J.V.Hodgson

    Finally republicans actually vote for something... reality is thier lobbyists and finanacial supporters told them they had to.
    On the other hand we should get real a $13bn p.a net gain in sales price of exports has probably got at best a 20 % labor cost which probably equals 75,000 jobs ( average pay $35K assumption) plus say anothe 5% in extra service workers these contribute towards say around 80,000. better than nothing but a huge bru ha ha over another drop in the unemployment ocean The AJA is far more meaningful and will bloggers and Republican politicians stop saying it the same as stimulus or recovery act and media repeating it like its gospel.
    the AJA is paid for no debt increase. you may not like how its paid for but thats a separate issue.
    So if Republicans ( or some Dems) dont like that suggest another way to pay for it. but for gods sake pass the bill in principle.

    October 13, 2011 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  11. Anonymous

    Hmm, since both parties were involved, now one party can't blame the other without blaming some in their own party as well,. I like this.

    October 13, 2011 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  12. mark

    Over the last decade or so, major companies have been shifting from "Made in China" to "Made in Korea" . So this bill will help increase the profits of those companies for using Korean labor, and do very little to help US workers. Made in the USA takes another hint. Thanks Mr Obama.

    October 13, 2011 04:37 am at 4:37 am |
  13. Ed

    can you hear the sucking sound of more good paying jobs going out of the US. the company I work for sent all the good paying IT jobs over seas and left only low paying or a mangers job. over 350 jobs just here in Philadelphia plant.

    October 13, 2011 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  14. Ed

    Obama just lost my vote. a stab in the back is what this is.

    October 13, 2011 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  15. Anonymous

    More American job losses on the way!

    October 13, 2011 07:52 am at 7:52 am |