Congress Approves Biggest US Free Trade Accord Since 94

October 13 00:00 2011

New York, October 13 ( – The Congress on Wednesday approved free trade pacts with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. The free trade accord is seen to be the biggest since 1994. However, some politicians protested warning of possible job losses in the United States.

Big companies like Memphis-based FedEx had been lobbying for the deal to spur on sales and maintain prices of US goods on an even keel with those of Europe in South Korea. The pacts will provide the biggest opportunity for exporters in decades. In the first year in which it is in full effect, American exports will get a boost of $10.9 billion.

The South Korea deal will remove duties on almost two-thirds of American farm exports and will phase out tariffs on almost 95 percent of industrial and consumer exports within five years. Robert Subbaraman, Hong Kong-based chief economist for Asia excluding Japan at Nomura holdings Inc. said, “This is a welcome development showing policy makers can be farsighted and come to an agreement that is positive for all parties involved in the long term in terms of GDP growth.” He added that “there has been a lot of market disappointment in policymaking this year.”

Asian stocks headed for a sixth straight day of gains, the longest winning streak in six weeks. South Korea’s benchmark Kospi Index rose 0.9 percent.