U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Tuesday for an end to partisan strife over free trade agreements (FTAs) with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.
"I know two things about trade. It is a polarizing political issue, but done right, it creates American jobs," she said in a speech at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition Conference in Washington.
She pointed out the U.S.-South Korea FTA is projected to grow the U.S. economy by at least US$10 billion each year.
"Passing these deals is critical to our economic recovery, but the stakes are not just economic," she said. "These nations are three important partners in strategically vital areas."
Her comments came as Congress remains locked in political wrangling over ways to support workers negatively affected by trade.
Democrats are seeking to add a worker assistance program to the implementing bill on the FTA with South Korea, but Republicans oppose the renewal of the budget-gulping Trade Adjustment Assistance program.
"It's time to put these trade deals to work on behalf of the American people," Clinton said. (Yonhap News)