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.

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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.

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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.

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September 23, 2011- Op-eds - Time for Teamwork on Trade

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.

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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.

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“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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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September 20, 2011- News Clips - Ag Leaders Call for Trade Agreements

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.

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September 20, 2011- News Clips - McConnell: FTAs to be Submitted Soon

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.

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September 23, 2011- Trade HTMLs - Leading CEOs and Textile Organizations See FTAs as Job-Creating Agreements
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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.

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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.

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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.

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September 22, 2011- News Clips - Reid: Senate on Track to Advance Trade Legislation

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.”

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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.

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September 20, 2011- Editorials - Ideas to Create Jobs

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.

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September 19, 2011- News Clips - Senate Advances Key Trade Measure

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.

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September 19, 2011- News Clips - Aid Program from 1960s a Key for Trade Pacts

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.

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September 19, 2011- News Clips - Senate Moves Towards Action on Trade Deals

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.

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September 19, 2011- News Clips - Senate Votes to Advance Components of Trade Package

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.

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September 19, 2011- News Clips - Alabama Group Calls for Trade Agreement Passage

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.”

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September 19, 2011- News Clips - How to Revive U.S. Trade Policy

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.

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September 19, 2011- News Clips - Congress Moves Closer to New Free Trade Agreements

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.

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September 15, 2011- News Clips - Korea Signs $10 Billion Partnership with Colombia

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.

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September 16, 2011- Op-eds - U.S. Trade Deal Would Aid Business

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.

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September 19, 2011- News Clips - After BRICs, CIVETS?

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.

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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.

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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.

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