OAKLAND (KCBS) – Three agreements pending before Congress are set to open up trade between Korea, Panama and Colombia, but East Bay Congressman George Miller said he is afraid they may not go far enough to protect American workers.

Miller points to an example close to home of why there needs to be worker benefit assistance rolled into these agreements.

“When the NUMMI plant was closed down in Fremont and other manufacturing jobs were lost, it was a very important assistance for those workers to get training and go back to school so that they can get a new job to cover the one they lost because of the impact of trade,” said Miller.

Senate Republicans want it stripped from the new agreements because they don’t want another federal aid program.

KCBS’ Holly Quan Reports:

“We have to find a way for America’s farmers and ranchers and young entrepreneurs and manufacturers to have access to these hundreds of millions of consumers now who live somewhere other than the United States,” said US Trade representative Ron Kirk. “I think our Republican friends can come to grips with the fact that Americans are concerned in many cases about jobs that are lost through trade, and it’s not too much to ask to have this safety net.

The trade agreements would mean as much as an additional $11 billion in US sales to Korea.

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