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White House Readies Trade Deals with Colombia, Panama, South Korea

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The White House announced Wednesday it is ready to send U.S. trade deals with Columbia, Panama and South Korea to Congress, senior administration officials 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 begin now on all three FTAs,” or free trade agreements, 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 need 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. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk sent a letter Wednesday to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees indicating that the deal 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.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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