The United States Senate leaders have reached an agreement on a path to approve three pending free trade deals with Korea, Colombia and Panama next month.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the two sides have decided that after Congress returns from a month-long recess, it will first take up a separate Trade Adjustment Assistance bill, aimed at providing aid to American workers who are hurt by foreign trade, and then vote on the trade deals.
The FTAs, each signed more than four years ago, were caught in a deadlock largely overshadowed by Congress' battle to raise the debt ceiling, which was resolved this week just hours before the deadline, avoiding a potential default.
Reid announced he does not support movement on the FTAs, which he has never supported, until the TAA is passed.
McConnell responded that he does not personally support the worker aid program, but acknowledged that there is bipartisan support for it.
Meanwhile, the Trade Representative's Office and Republican House Speaker John Boehner welcomed the compromise.
Boehner says he looks forward to the House passing the FTAs, in tandem with a separate consideration of the TAA legislation at an early date.
Yoo Ji-hae, Arirang News.
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