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Gutierrez, Schwab Continue Push for FTA Approval at NFTC’s 94th Annual World Trade Dinner
Date: 9/11/2008 2:52:00 PM
Written By: Jennifer Cummings or Eric Thomas, The Fratelli Group for NFTC, 202-822-9491

Rep. Meeks Named World Trade Award Honoree

Washington, DC – Last night the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) hosted its 94th Annual World Trade Dinner and Award Ceremony at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. In remarks delivered before the gathering, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez and U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab pressed Members of Congress to approve the free trade agreements (FTAs) currently awaiting consideration – Colombia, Panama and South Korea.

“Congress should make good on its commitments under fast track negotiating authority to vote on these agreement this year. All three deserve a vote – that’s Colombia, Panama and South Korea. Members of Congress deserve to have their votes heard and their votes recorded,” said Gutierrez. “I believe, many others believe that if we had the vote today on Colombia, we would win. We have the votes. The only thing we need ironically is to get a schedule, but the votes are there to support Colombia.”
 
Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist Steven Pearlstein delivered the keynote address and shared his views on the importance of trade to the U.S. and global economies. In addition, Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) received the NFTC’s 2008 World Trade Award. 
 
“We thank Ambassador Schwab, Secretary Gutierrez and Congressman Meeks for their efforts to establish and sustain a bipartisan trade agenda that works for America, our farmers, manufacturers, service providers and workers,” said NFTC President Bill Reinsch.
 
The NFTC dinner was widely attended by policymakers, members of the business community, ambassadors and embassy officials from numerous countries, including Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, the Czech Republic, the Dominican Republic, the European Union, France, Germany, Guatemala, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Oman, Panama, Slovenia, Switzerland, and Yemen.

“Opening new markets around the world to U.S. goods and services is central to America’s leadership in the global economy, and we echo the call for prompt congressional approval of the three pending trade agreements this year. The merits of each agreement are worthy of consideration, and it is our hope that Congress will take up that task in the coming weeks,” Reinsch concluded.