ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports:
White House ready to send Congress Colombia, Panama, South Korea trade deals.
The White House announced today that they are ready to send US trade deals with Colombia, Panama and South Korea to Congress, senior administration officials, briefing reporters on a conference call this afternoon, said.
White House officials said they are ready to move to the next stage in the legislative process and hope that talks will begin Thursday on Capitol Hill.
“We expect the work to e begin now on all three FTAs,” a senior administration official said, “and we look forward to Congress getting each one of those agreements ready for a vote.”
The precise sequencing, timing, and packaging still needs to be worked out over the next few weeks.
Republicans had previously threatened to block the South Korea agreement, finalized in December of last year, if the White House did not also send the other two, Colombia and Panama.
“With today’s news, the administration has indicated it is ready to meet our request to advance the three pending trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea. Now it’s time we move to expand market access for American-made goods in all three of these nations," said House Speaker John Boehner.
"Putting Americans back to work is the top priority of the House, and enacting these critical agreements will help create jobs and provide a needed boost to our economy. I look forward to working with the administration to pass these trade agreements in tandem with one another, as well as engaging in a broader discussion about America’s trade and workforce policies,” Boehner said.
U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk sent a letter today to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees today indicating that Colombia is now ready to move “to the next stage in the process.”
In the letter Kirk says that “more work” needs to be done on Columbia but the agreement allows all three FTA’s to begin the process of implementing review by staff and beginning the process of legislative approval.