Free trade bills in progress with South Korea, Colombia, Panama

Finance Committee Schedules FTA ‘Mockup’

The Journal of Commerce Online - News Story

Free trade bills in progress with South Korea, Colombia, Panama

Members of the Senate Finance Committee will let President Obama know what they would like to see written in upcoming bills that will implement three long-awaited free trade agreements.

Chairman Max Bacus, D-Mont., is calling the meeting scheduled for Thursday a “mock markup” of the free trade bills.

Under the president’s “fast track” authority the Senate cannot amend FTA legislation. The “mockup” will give members the opportunity to offer changes that will be sent back to the White House for consideration. The administration will then send a second round of implementing bills for an up or down vote by the Senate.

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The three FTAs are with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. Supporters believe that they will open new markets worth billions to exporters in all sectors of the economy.

Also included in the package is a renewal of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, which expired in February. TAA provides help for U.S. businesses affected by international trade.

The legislation also includes an extension of the Generalized System of Preferences that allows importers to enter goods duty free from selected developing countries.

--Contact R.G. Edmonson at