Calls on Policymakers to Return to Bipartisan Spirit Embodied in May 10 Agreement, Presses Ways and Means to Schedule Hearings
Washington, DC – With Saturday marking the one-year anniversary of the May 10 consensus on trade reached between Congress and the Administration, the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) today sent letters to President Bush, Speaker Pelosi and House and Senate Majority and Minority Leaders to press for timely, bipartisan consideration and approval of pending free trade agreements and Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) legislation. In similar letters to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel and Ranking Member James McCrery, the NFTC urged the committee to begin scheduling hearings on the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement. The NFTC also sent letters to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley.
“During this time of economic uncertainty, it is critical that Congress and the Administration engage in a robust, bipartisan dialogue about how best to advance the U.S. trade agenda and expand and enhance important domestic programs, including Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA),” wrote NFTC President Bill Reinsch.
“At its core, the May 10 agreement was a commendable bipartisan effort to ensure that U.S. free trade agreements (FTAs) contain strong labor rights and environmental protection provisions,” Reinsch continued. “One year later, Congress has an opportunity to consider and approve the U.S.-Colombia FTA. The economic and social arguments for the Colombia agreement are clear, as the FTA will afford U.S. exporters reciprocal access to the Colombian market and provide a structural framework to help Colombia continue its progress forward as a stable, democratic, economically viable global stakeholder.”
Reinsch also wrote to policymakers about the importance of Congress and the Administration working together to approve an expanded and enhanced TAA program, stating, “While the Colombia agreement, as well as those negotiated with Panama and South Korea, will help to boost U.S. economic growth, it is equally important to ensure that American workers adversely impacted by trade and technological advancements have the social safety net they need to succeed in the 21st century global economy.”
“Moving forward on both fronts will require Congress and the Administration to return to the spirit of bipartisanship embodied in the May 10 agreement, and we hope you will do your part to revitalize that spirit,” Reinsch concluded.
For a copy of the letters, please visit
http://www.nftc.org/default/trade/2008/US Colombia FTA TAA Ltr.pdf
Advancing Global Commerce for Over 90 Years
The National Foreign Trade Council (www.nftc.org) is a leading business organization advocating an open, rules-based global trading system. Founded in 1914 by a broad-based group of American companies, the NFTC now serves hundreds of member companies through its offices in Washington and New York.