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US Congress ends five-year stand-off over Panama treaty

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The US Congress passed three long-awaited free trade agreements on Wednesday, ending a political standoff that has stretched across two presidencies.

The approval of the deals with South Korea, Colombia and Panama is a victory for President Obama and proponents of the view that foreign trade can drive America’s economic growth in the face of rising protectionist sentiment. They are the first trade agreements to pass Congress since Democrats broke a decade of Republican control in 2007.

The House voted to pass the Colombia measure, the most controversial of the three deals because of concerns about the treatment of unions in that country,

262 to 167; the Panama measure passed 300 to 129.

Original source: New York Times