As a result of the administration’s failure to act on these agreements, American companies and their workers are losing market share and are being denied valuable business opportunities. At the same time, Colombia and Panama are continuing to expand their trading partnerships elsewhere, signing bilateral free trade agreements with the European Union, Canada, and other countries which are eager to move into these large markets at the expense of U.S. workers.
Any further delay of these agreements is unnecessary and inexcusable. So important are these deals to our economy and our relations with these key allies in Latin America that, until the President submits both agreements to Congress for approval and commits to signing implementing legislation into law, we will use all the tools at our disposal to force action, including withholding support for any nominee for Commerce Secretary and any trade-related nominees.
19 former government officials, Democrat and Republican, sent Mr. Obama and Congressional leaders a letter urging swift passage of the Colombia and Panama deals. The 19 served under no fewer than six U.S. Presidents, from Gerald Ford through George W. Bush.
The signatories include two former special envoys to the Americas; six former U.S. Trade Representatives, including Democrats Mickey Kantor and Charlene Barshefsky; and 11 former Assistant Secretaries of State for the Western Hemisphere, including Bernard Aronson and several other Democrats.
What is Obama waiting for?