U.S. Passes Biggest Trade Agreement Since ’94

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President Barack Obama shakes hands with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak only a day after Congress passed a free trade agreement with South Korea.

This week, Congress passed free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama in the largest sweeping trade move since the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994.

The agreement with South Korea removes duties on about two-thirds of American farm exports, and it phases out tariffs on more than 95 percent of industrial and consumer exports over the next five years, according to Bloomberg.

The agreement broadens long-dead trade relationships just after Congress voted on measures to punish the Chinese for currency devaluation. Some people say the new measures will also open more trans-Pacific trade possibilities.

The U.S. International Trade Commission says the South Korea deal could boost American exports by as much as $10.9 billion during the first full year it is in effect. The deal with Colombia could lead to about $1.1 billion in export revenues.

Some opponents to the free-trade agreements have noted soaring trade deficits in the U.S. as a result of past trade agreements, and they contend that the new trade deal will have similar effects. Fearing that unions and wage workers in the U.S. will lose out to cheap foreign labor, many Democrats took to the House floor to speak in opposition to the deals, according to The New York Times.

“What I am seeing firsthand is devastation that these free trade agreements can do to our communities,” Representative Mike Michaud, (D-Maine), told the newspaper.

Personal Liberty

Sam Rolley

Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After covering community news and politics, Rolley took a position at Personal Liberty Media Group where could better hone his focus on his true passions: national politics and liberty issues. In his daily columns and reports, Rolley works to help readers understand which lies are perpetuated by the mainstream media and to stay on top of issues ignored by more conventional media outlets.

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