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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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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