President Obama needs to look beyond pushing only the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement to standing behind ratification of the other pending trade agreements with Panama and Colombia, says Cato’s Dan Griswold in a Washington Times article today.
Griswold points out that while the FTA with Korea is economically of far greater consequence than the Colombia FTA, that agreement would help cement our relationship with an important ally that is a strong pro-democracy counterpart to dictators like Hugo Chavez. In economic terms, the trade pact would completely eliminate most tariffs on U.S. goods and services — providing companies like Caterpillar Inc. with strong market opportunities.
He takes issue with the Obama administration’s pronouncement that they will not be introducing the implementing legislation for the Colombia FTA anytime soon because they don’t have the votes. That shouldn’t be the case, Griswold says, because of the influx of new legislators who aren’t bound to the union-led opposition to free trade. As Griswold says,
It sounds more like a convenient and self-fulfilling prophecy on the part of the administration. If the votes are not there for the Colombian agreement, it is only because Mr. Obama so far has failed to exercise the same leadership he recently displayed in moving the Korean agreement toward passage.
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