Washington – President Barack Obama on Monday sent to the U.S. Congress long-pending trade treaties with Colombia, Panama and South Korea and insisted that lawmakers should move quickly to approve the deals.
"We've worked hard to strengthen these agreements to get the best possible deal for American workers and businesses, and I call on Congress to pass them without delay," Obama said in a statement released by the White House.
A bipartisan compromise on an extension of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, which helps workers displaced by foreign trade, cleared the way for the administration to submit the trade pacts to Congress.
The Democratic-controlled Senate approved the TAA on Sept. 22 and the Republican majority in the House of Representatives is ready to follow suit.
"These three trade agreements will support American jobs and help create opportunities to expand for American businesses. I look forward to seeing them passed, as well as beginning the important task of working with the Administration to further expand America's trade agenda," House Speaker John Boehner said.
House votes on the trade pacts will be scheduled "consecutively and in tandem" with the TAA, the Ohio Republican said.
The accords were signed during the presidency of George W. Bush, but Democrats in Congress blocked them, demanding more guarantees for workers.
The pacts will increase U.S. exports by more than $12 billion per year, according to their supporters, and they also have the backing of the business community.