The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) applauded passage today of the three pending free trade agreements (FTAs) with Colombia, South Korea, and Panama.After being mired in political debate for years, approval of the three FTAs is the most significant trade action since the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994. President Obama initiated the process last week by officially submitting the agreements to Congress for approval. Today, the agreements passed in the House and Senate with solid, bipartisan support, along with renewal of the Generalized System of Preferences and Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) programs. Stephanie Lester, vice president of international trade offered the following statement."Today's votes are the most significant achievement on trade in years, and they show that the parties can come together and act swiftly in support of international trade and open markets to create jobs and economic opportunity for American workers, families and companies," said Stephanie Lester, vice president of international trade. "This is a long-awaited and welcomed achievement for our country. We thank Congress and the Administration for their overwhelming bipartisan support for the FTAs. After years of delay, we are delighted to see such an important achievement in promoting America's competitiveness in the world.""A proactive international trade agenda is crucial to America's vitality and competitive standing in the world. We will continue to work closely with the Administration and Congress to build off of the momentum that has been achieved with the passage of these FTAs. We encourage lawmakers to now turn attention to other job-creating trade items such as the ongoing negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)," Lester concluded.RILA is the trade association of the world's largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.