Washington DC – The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) today welcomed the release of a Senate Foreign Relations Committee report, titled Losing Jobs and Alienating Friends: The Consequences of Falling Behind on Free Trade With Colombia and Panama. The report, which was submitted to committee members by Ranking Member Richard Lugar, examines the potential consequences for the United States if it fails to pass free trade agreements with Colombia and Panama. The report specifically argues that three key U.S. policy priorities will be negatively affected by failure to pass the FTAs: 1) Job creation; 2) Gains achieved through Plan Colombia on issues of human rights and labor in Colombia; and 3) U.S. credibility and influence in Latin America.
“We applaud Senator Lugar for his leadership in pointing out what is at stake if the Administration and Congress fail to make approval of both of these agreements a priority. The report signals that there is support in Congress for moving these agreements forward and points out the implications of not doing so,” said NFTC President Bill Reinsch. “Advancing these FTAs is something that the President has indicated that he would like to do, most recently in his State of the Union address and in remarks yesterday to business leaders at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. We believe he is committed to pursuing approval of the Colombia and Panama agreements, but urge the Administration to take action with a sense of urgency.”
“If we continue to kick the can down the road, we stand to continue losing market share in both Colombia and Panama, to the detriment of key U.S. industries – from agriculture to equipment manufacturing,” said NFTC Vice President for Regional Trade Issues Chuck Dittrich. “Saving and creating American jobs and increasing U.S. economic growth are not the only things at stake if the Administration and Congress continue to delay ratification of both agreements, so is the United States’ influence in Latin America. Approval of these FTAs will create goodwill and demonstrate that the U.S. is serious about being a committed economic and diplomatic partner in the Western Hemisphere.”
“We encourage the Administration to continue doing what it takes to build support in Congress for both FTAs, and work to address any outstanding concerns with the Colombian and Panamanian governments so the agreements can be submitted and passed as soon as possible,” Reinsch concluded.
To read the Senate Foreign Relations Committee report, please click here.
Advancing Global Commerce for Over 95 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.
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