Congress approves free trade pact with South Korea

AP News
Posted: Oct 12, 2011 7:49 PM
Congress approves free trade pact with South Korea

Congress has approved a free trade agreement with South Korea, the world's 13th largest economy and the U.S.' seventh largest trading partner.

The House and Senate voted in quick succession Wednesday to approve the agreement. The two chambers also were voting to approve free trade agreements with Colombia and Panama.

The U.S. and South Korea had nearly $80 billion in trade last year, with South Korea commanding a $10 billion surplus. The Obama administration predicts that by lowering tariffs on U.S. goods sold in South Korea the agreement will nearly erase that trade gap and support 70,000 American jobs.

The agreement was signed during the last Bush presidency, but President Barack Obama did not submit it to Congress until after renegotiating to get better access for U.S. autos in Korea.