Photo: US-Colombia Fair Trade Pact
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, applauded the announcement that an agreement has been reached to resolve outstanding issues on the long-pending U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA), and said that the passage of free trade pacts with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea will help create jobs in South Florida and throughout the U.S. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“Once it goes into effect, the long-overdue Free Trade Agreement between the U.S. and Colombia will help bring jobs and economic growth to South Florida and throughout the United States.
“Colombia is already Miami’s second largest trading partner globally and this agreement will open the door for further opportunities to spur economic growth. As the gateway to the Americas, Florida is in a position to be one of the chief beneficiaries of the FTA, with thousands of new jobs likely being created and hundreds of millions of dollars more in exports to Colombia expected each year.
“It is unfortunate that this job-creating agreement has been on hold for more than four years as the Obama Administration raised one obstacle after another due to politically-driven opposition by partisan special interest groups.
“Colombia is also a steadfast ally in a volatile region where U.S. interests are under assault, and this agreement will enhance the vital partnership between our two nations.
“Free Trade Agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea must all be finalized as soon as possible in order to create exports, increase jobs, and spur on economic growth.”
BACKGROUND: The original U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement was concluded by the Bush Administration in 2006, but the Obama Administration has refused to forward it to Congress for a vote, citing a need to revise provisions regarding labor and other issues.