Obama applauds passage of 3 free-trade agreements

WASHINGTON (AP) ? President Barack Obama says congressional passage of free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama is a major win for American workers and businesses.

He says the agreements will open new markets for U.S. automakers, farmers, ranchers and manufacturers, significantly boosting exports of U.S.-made goods and supporting tens of thousands of jobs.

The House and Senate voted in quick succession Wednesday to pass the pacts that will lower or eliminate tariffs American exporters face in all three countries. Obama and Republicans in Congress have been urging each other to act on the agreements, and passage gave them a chance to show they can work together to stimulate the economy and create jobs.

Final passage came in time for the South Korean president’s visit to the White House on Thursday.