Renewal of Bush-Era Free Trade Agreements

South Korean Container ShipThe White House may start talks with congressional staff on ratification of the trade accords with South Korea, Colombia and Panama as early as today.

Gary Hufbauer is a senior fellow with the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. He says the chances for passage are excellent, in no small part because of the president’s new political clout in the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden.

“The only opponents of this would be some of the Democrats who’ve been long been very resistant to having an agreement with Colombia. But given President Obama’s standing right now, I don’t even think these opponents would be very vocal. So, I would be quite hopeful that they’ll be passed pretty expeditiously, by which I mean in, let’s say, sixty days.”

Houston-area Republican Kevin Brady, who chairs the House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee, says he’s pleased by the announcement. He says the free trade agreements represent opportunities to create American jobs, and he hopes the administration will submit the FTAs in time for congressional consideration by July 1.

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