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Congress finally gets it: Free trade is good for America

Despite negative public opinion about open trade, Congress is poised to approve delayed free trade agreements with South Korea, Panama, and Colombia. The deals will help the US economy by increasing exports and supporting and creating tens of thousands of jobs.

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Finally, after more than four years of debate and acrimony, Congress is expected to pass the free trade agreements the United States negotiated with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea. All three will go a long way in helping to give a much-needed boost to the economy by increasing US exports and supporting and creating tens of thousands of American jobs.

For those of us who speak for hundreds of US companies with thousands of workers and worldwide operations, these free trade agreements (or FTAs) are urgently needed. Despite a popular view that open trade kills American jobs, the particulars of these agreements show their benefits.

In the case of Colombia, the FTA will provide duty-free access for more than 75 percent of US agricultural goods and more than 80 percent of US consumer products – helping to increase two-way trade, which reached more than $28 billion last year. The FTA – which is expected to help the American economy grow by $2.5 billion and US exports by $1.1 billion – allows us to seal a mutually beneficial deal with the third largest economy in South America and one of our longest standing democratic allies in the region.

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