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Whither Hemispheric Trade?

In his post-Summit of the Americas remarks in Trinidad and Tobago today, President Obama stated his administration's commitment to improving relations with countries around the hemisphere. He rightly noted how unhelpful it is when other countries' main interaction with the U.S. is either though military or drug interdiction efforts. However, he failed to mention an immediate policy to improve both hemispheric relations and economic growth in the region: Commitment to win ratification of pending free trade agreements between the United States and other countries in the region. To date, ratification of trade agreements with Colombia and Panama -- two strong U.S. allies -- remains stalled on Capitol Hill. For more on the U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement see here.