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Diaz-Balart, Ros-Lehtinen applaud trade agreements

Saying "it's about time," both Miami Republican Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen on Monday said they support the free trade agreements the White House sent to Congress Monday.

President Barack Obama on Monday submitted agreements with Korea, Colombia, and Panama. Some tTrade unions disagree with the free trade agreements -- and will be holding several events Tuesday to protest them. But the White House said Monday that the agreements will make it easier for American companies to sell their products in South Korea, Colombia, and Panama and provide a major boost to our exports. 

"These agreements will support tens of thousands of jobs across the country for workers making products stamped with three proud words: Made in America," Obama said.

Diaz-Balart said that the Colombia agreement alone could create more than 6,400 jobs for Florida -- and increase exports by $500 million annually. "These agreements will not only get Americans back to work but also demonstrates solidarity with our democratic allies, Colombia, Panama and South Korea," he said.

Ros-Lehtinen, who heads the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the agreements will "level the playing field for American businesses, including many in South Florida.  The billions of dollars in increased sales that will result will enable these companies to create tens of thousands of jobs for hard-pressed Americans."

Obama also called on Congress to pass trade adjustment assistance that will help workers whose jobs have been affected by global competition.