Some good news from Capitol Hill: The House and Senate both passed the pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea this evening. But all of these deals were negotiated during the Bush administration (before getting stalled in the Democrat-controlled Congress). Obama insisted on renegotiating all three agreements, and didn’t submit the revised agreements to Congress until nine days ago, just enough time to pass them before South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak’s address to a joint session of Congress tomorrow. The Korean agreement — the most significant one, given the size of South Korea’s economy — was a source of some embarrassment last year, when Obama promised to have the renegotiation completed in time for the G-20 summit in November, then failed to get it done until December. Happily, unlike many of this president’s mistakes, this is one that we can finally put behind us. But given the state of the economy in recent years, the small but real boost to GDP that these agreements will generate would have been nice to have earlier.
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