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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September 15, 2011- Trade HTMLs - U.S.-Colombia FTA Will Support Jobs and Increase Exports for Companies and Farmers in California
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September 15, 2011- Trade HTMLs - U.S.-Colombia FTA Will Support Jobs and Increase Exports for Companies and Farmers in Colorado
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September 15, 2011- Trade HTMLs - U.S.-Colombia FTA Will Support Jobs and Increase Exports for Companies and Farmers in Florida
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September 15, 2011- Trade HTMLs - U.S.-Colombia FTA Will Support Jobs and Increase Exports for Companies and Farmers in North Carolina
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September 15, 2011- Trade HTMLs - U.S.-Colombia FTA Will Support Jobs and Increase Exports for Companies and Farmers in New Mexico
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September 15, 2011- Trade HTMLs - U.S.-Colombia FTA Will Support Jobs and Increase Exports for Companies and Farmers in Texas
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U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said Friday he hopes the Senate will move quickly on legislation to renew funding for workers displaced by trade, as discussions intensified to take up the bill at the beginning of next week. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D., Nev.) said he expects the Senate on Monday will to begin debating a bill the House passed last week to renew duty-free access for imports from developing countries, with plans to attach the funding for the job retraining program known as Trade Adjustment Assistance.

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Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos visited Seoul, on Thursday for a meeting with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak. The two leaders made a commitment to advance the Colombia-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in the coming months. “I would expect – and I will give my Ministers these instructions – to have the agreement finalized by the end of this year or, at the latest, by the beginning of next year,” said Santos.

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September 13, 2011- News Clips - Colombia and Japan Move to Strengthen Trade Ties

During his visit to Japan, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced a Joint Study for an Economic Partnership Agreement between the two countries. Santos said the time is right to consider such an agreement, as Colombia’s economy offers numerous opportunities for trade and investment. The proposal is seen as the first step towards a bilateral economic partnership agreement.

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September 15, 2011- News Clips - Korea, Colombia to Finalize Trade Pact

Korea and Colombia agreed Thursday to finalize a free trade agreement by the end of the year to promote bilateral trade and investment, a year before the 50th anniversary of their establishment of diplomatic relations. So far, Korea and Colombia have held four rounds of negotiations. The two leaders agreed to make a joint effort toward the ratification of their respective free trade accords signed with the United States, which are pending at U.S. Congress, as soon as possible.

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South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos pledged Thursday to significantly boost relations between the two countries and seek an early conclusion of a free trade agreement, officials said. In particular, the two leaders also agreed during summit talks in Seoul to work closely together to get their respective long-pending free trade pacts with the United States ratified by Congress as early as possible, officials said.

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September 14, 2011- News Clips - GOP Increases Pressure on Obama to Move Trade Deals

Republicans took to the Senate floor Wednesday to urge the Obama administration to immediately send three pending free-trade agreements to Capitol Hill.  The floor speeches are part of a campaign by the GOP to pressure the White House to reach an agreement with House leadership on passing a worker-aid program that would free up the trade deals for congressional votes, a move supporters argue will create jobs in the stagnating economy.

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Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has called for his country and Korea to sign a free trade agreement as soon as possible stressing that a trade pact would greatly boost commercial ties.

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Japan and Colombia signed an agreement for the protection of investments and began analyzing an accord to reduce barriers to trade. The agreement was signed by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos during a trip to Japan, according to a statement today on the presidential website. He will travel to South Korea tomorrow to discuss a free-trade accord with the Asian country.

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A senior Republican lawmaker said he was optimistic the U.S. Congress would pass three long-delayed trade deals with South Korea, Panama and Colombia "very soon". Representative Kevin Brady said his understanding was the White House, Senate leaders and House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner have agreed on a "very tight process" for moving the trade deals and a separate bill to renew Trade Adjustment Assistance."

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September 14, 2011- Op-eds - First-Hand Benefits of Free Trade

This is why it is so critically important for the South Korea, Panama and Colombia free-trade agreements to pass. With almost 14 million Americans out of work we can no longer allow these agreements to languish as other regions continue to beat us to the market. It’s been two-and-a-half months since the European Union began trading with South Korea and almost one month since Canada signed an agreement with Colombia. If the United States doesn’t follow suit and lower tariffs for American goods and services, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates we may lose nearly 400,000 jobs and $40 billion in export sales in these two countries alone.

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September 13, 2011- Op-eds - TAA Must Be Renewed Alongside Trade Pacts

Trade has been a significant driver of economic growth, and expanding exports is important for job creation, but trade also comes with painful dislocations that threaten the livelihoods of many workers and their families. This is why Congress and the White House must ensure that the passage of the three pending free-trade agreements is accompanied by the renewal of the May 2009 Trade Adjustment Assistance package, which provides all workers with these essential services they need to get back on their feet.

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September 19, 2011- Editorials - Free Trade: Progress

During the recess, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced they would hold votes on crucial trade agreements. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor quite properly said he would not hesitate to schedule votes when the agreements officially arrive in Congress. The soybean editorial above indicates the value of global trade. Free trade pacts between the U.S. and South Korea, Colombia and Panama have languished for many months. Unionists opposed the deal with Colombia with unenlightened vigor.

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September 18, 2011- Editorials - Keep Pushing Trade Agreements

Good for Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., for pushing for the approval of trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia. The agreements were reached during the Bush administration but have been held up by labor concerns and by the GOP’s defunding of a program that helps workers and companies negatively affected by trade deals.

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September 17, 2011- Editorials - Deal Us In

 Despite the nonstop, confidence-deflating partisanship on Capitol Hill, Congress may be ready to settle one of its long-standing differences and — surprise! — do something that helps put America back to work. Free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama are only one small compromise away from winning approval. Let's get it done. These deals have languished for years, costing U.S. consumers and robbing U.S. businesses of opportunities to grow.

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September 15, 2011- Editorials - Free Trade is Good Business for State

This is why we join Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan in his call for President Barack Obama and Congress to approve free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. As a port city, Mobile stands to benefit from these pacts, which enjoy bipartisan support. Millions of Americans need jobs, and free trade could provide some of them. It’s estimated that the trade agreements,negotiated during the Bush administration, would create tens of thousands of jobs. What’s more, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says the pacts would protect 380,000 other jobs that America can’t afford to lose.

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In his State of the Union address last year, Obama appealed for congressional approval of the trade deals with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea. He repeated his call for these pacts in this year’s State of the Union. And he did it once again last week. “Now it’s time to clear the way for a series of trade agreements that would make it easier for American companies to sell their products,” said Obama in his latest high-profile speech. “If Americans can buy Kias and Hyundais, I want to see folks in South Korea driving Fords and Chevys and Chryslers.” This makes sense. One study shows that for every $1 billion in new exports, the U.S. economy gains 6,000 jobs. So obviously Congress should enact these agreements “right away.”

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September 19, 2011- Op-eds - Idling U.S. Job Engine Needs Acute Overhaul

We also need to create a good environment for trade. We have free-trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia that have been pending for three years. Together, they reduce tariffs on the order of 85 percent and represent more than $13 billion in export opportunities for American businesses, farmers and ranchers every year. Most importantly, they represent more than a quarter of a million American jobs. The administration needs to bring those agreements to the Senate and House for ratification. It’s time we take them from pending to passed.

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September 18, 2011- Op-eds - Tech Provides Map for Nation’s Future

Fourth, once we develop the best technology here at home, we need to sell it to the rest of the world. We need to expand markets for American technology exports. High-tech products are our nation’s largest overseas export, composing 17.8 percent of all our exports and supporting more than 900,000 U.S. jobs. By moving the long overdue free-trade agreements with Panama, South Korea and Colombia forward, our nation will send a strong message that it is serious about opening markets and supporting the growth of global trade.

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September 18, 2011- Op-eds - Government Handcuffs Innovation

Washington should learn from America’s successful high-tech companies by being more responsive to changes in the global marketplace. That includes adopting policies that help those businesses to compete, grow and hire. For instance, President Barack Obama should submit the pending free-trade agreements with Panama, Colombia and South Korea so Congress can approve them. In addition to expanding trade, these agreements contain protections for the intellectual property that are vital to the success of our tech companies.

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September 17, 2011- Op-eds - A Pro-Trade Agenda for U.S. Jobs

Yet the United States—the country that fathered the modern world trading system—today has no real trade policy. Free trade agreements completed several years ago with South Korea, Panama and Colombia have yet to be approved by Congress. The Doha world trade talks have been dying a slow death for years. And the U.S. has let the European Union, Canada, China and other countries take the lead on trade opening with many of the fast-growing economies of Asia and Latin America. What has gone wrong?

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September 17, 2011- Op-eds - Trade Pacts That Will Boost New England

New England is home to countless goods and services, from fresh seafood to cutting-edge medical devices, that are in demand around the globe. And so the New England Council, representing over 400 businesses and organizations, is encouraged by progress toward approval of three free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama. Each agreement offers unique market opportunities to increase the export of goods and services from New England and create job opportunities.

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September 16, 2011- Op-eds - Why the Jobs Plan Falls Short

While the jobs plan President Obama proposed last week contains some ideas that American business supports, it falls short. It focuses too much on government spending and temporary tax breaks and too little on the trade, energy, tax, regulatory and entitlement reforms that will jolt our economy and job market back to life. He was right to call for passage of the long-pending free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. But the United States should also be vigorously negotiating new trade and investment agreements around the world.

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