Chamber Of Commerce Pushes Hard For Free Trade Agreements

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Chamber of Commerce pushes hard for free trade agreements Last week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the largest business lobby group in the country, urged the Obama administration to advance three free trade agreements that have been pending since the president took office earlier this year, Reuters reports.

The organization said that trade agreements with Panama, South Korea and Colombia, which were all negotiated by former President George W. Bush’s administration, have been left on the table for the past year.

John Murphy, the chamber’s vice president of international affairs, said that failing to move forward on these agreements would put approximately 500,000 jobs at risk, the news source reports.

President Obama has planned a job creation forum for next week that the chamber hopes will lead to more trade talks and the possibility of getting agreements in front of Congress.

"We are absolutely convinced that on all three of the trade agreements, the votes would be there. We just need to have the chance to hold that vote," Murphy said.

The president recently visited Seoul and reopened trade talks with South Korea President Lee Myung-bak.

The sticking point on a possible agreement continues to be the auto industry’s demand for wider access to the South Korean marketplace, but Presidents Obama and Myung-bak both agreed to continue talks.

South Korea signed an agreement with the European Union last month that would make 99 percent of commerce duty-free in the next five years, leaving the U.S. at risk of losing market share, Bloomberg.com reports.
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