The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) welcomed on Friday the approval by the U. S. Congress of three trade agreements with Republic of Korea (ROK), Colombia and Panama. \"I applaud the U.S. House and Senate for ratifying the trade agreements. In the face of anemic growth and lurking protectionism, never before has market-opening been as important as it is today,\" OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria said in a statement. The U.S. Congress Wednesday approved long-awaited free trade agreements with ROK, Colombia and Panama, in a bid to bolster exports to jump-start the sagging economy and create jobs. \"The congressional votes send a strong signal to jittery markets the world over that the United States and its partners remain committed to open markets and bringing down barriers to trade and investment. This should boost business confidence, investment and job creation. It is a debt-free shot in the arm for the world economy,\" he added. The U.S. government signed the trade pacts under former president George W. Bush, but the Democratic-controlled Congress at the time never brought them up for a vote, giving the current Obama administration time to renegotiate areas it found objectionable.