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Obama to sign FTAs on Friday

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Barack Obama will sign the free trade accords with South Korea, Colombia and Panama on Friday, completing Washington's long-delayed legislative and administrative procedures necessary for the implementation of the deals, according to the White House.

Obama also plans to sign the renewal of Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for workers in the ceremony in the Rose Garden, it added.

"In his remarks, President Obama will underscore that these trade agreements will significantly boost American exports, support tens of thousands of American jobs and protect labor rights, the environment and intellectual property," his office said Tuesday in a press release.

Obama will be joined at the event by business and labor leaders as well as workers who will benefit from these bills, it said.

Last week, Congress passed the implementing bills on free trade agreements (FTAs) with the three nations and the extension of the TAA.

The FTA with South Korea marks the largest U.S. trade pact since the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement.

South Korea's National Assembly has yet to ratify the FTA.

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk expressed hope that Seoul will follow suit.

"President Obama worked closely with members of Congress to garner historic levels of support for the KORUS FTA. Similarly, the United States respects and supports President Lee’s efforts to work with the South Korean National Assembly to approve the KORUS FTA," he said in a written interview with Yonhap News Agency on Monday.

"The United States looks forward to bringing KORUS into force, so that citizens of both countries can enjoy the mutual benefits of this historic agreement that adds an important economic pillar to the vital alliance between our two countries," he added.

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