Free Trade with Colombia Deserves a Vote

Washington, D.C., July 2, 2008—Congress should stop stalling and move
quickly to approve the pending free trade agreement between the United States and Colombia, according to a new study published by the Competitive
Enterprise Institute.

“The United States-Colombia
Free Trade Agreement deserves a speedy vote,” write Adjunct Fellow Fran Smith
and Research Associate Ryan Young. “Congressional leaders say that President
George W. Bush did not follow ‘protocol’ in sending the agreement to Congress
over members’ expressed opposition, so they are overriding the legal procedures
and timetables for voting on the agreement. Thus, sound policy is held hostage
to politics.”

The agreement would
benefit both nations’ economies and would be a positive foreign policy gesture.
The trade pact is especially important for the U.S., which lately has been
impacted by high energy prices and anemic economic growth. The nine thousand
American companies that do business with Colombia stand to benefit – and so
do consumers.

“With Latin America currently beset by a wave of anti-American
populism, the Colombia Free Trade Agreement would consolidate a key alliance in
that crucial region,” said Fran Smith. “Moreover, the U.S. has a responsibility to deal fairly with
the people of Colombia
and their elected representatives, who have negotiated in good faith and shown
patience throughout the approval process.”

By blocking
approval of the Agreement, the leadership in Congress is hurting America’s trust and credibility not only with Colombia, but with
our trading partners around the world. Worse yet, this stalling is destroying economic
opportunities for the Colombian people. The only honorable course is to approve
the Agreement as soon as possible.

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public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited
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