Why Isn’t The White House Pushing The Colombia Free Trade Agreement?

According to this story in Politico, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has announced that the administration has decided not to push the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement. This makes no sense whatsoever.

It’s been four years since a free trade agreement with Colombia was successfully negotiated by the United States and three years since, in accordance with the U.S. Constitution, it was sent to Congress for ratification. However, unlike the Korean FTA, which the White House has made a priority and provided the leadership needed to move it along on Capital Hill, the Obama administration has inexplicably decided to allow the agreement with Colombia to continue languish.

Getting the Colombia agreement ratified will create jobs in the United States when unemployment is close to 10 percent, in other words, precisely when these jobs are needed. It will also prevent other countries that have already ratified their own FTA’s with Colombia – especially Canada but also Brazil and Argentina – from increasing their exports to Colombia at the U.S.’ expense.

At its heart, the Colombia FTA with the United States is an agreement by that country to cancel their tariffs against American goods and workers. There is no justification for it not being one of the White House’s highest economic priorities.

About Steve Bartlett

Steve Bartlett is President and CEO of The Financial Services Roundtable, and has served in that role since June 1999. Previously, he was the Mayor of Dallas, Texas (1991-95), a Member of the United States Congress (1983-91), and on the Dallas City Council (1977-81). At The Financial Services Roundtable, Mr. Bartlett has had a major impact on legislation including Gramm-Leach-Bliley, E-SIGN, the 2001-2003 Tax Cuts, the Fact Act (FCRA), Class Action Reform, consumer bankruptcy reform, regulatory reform and TARP.
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