Obama Promises Push on Colombia, Panama, S. Korea Trade Pacts


COMMENT: The notion of expanding U.S. exports through these “free trade” pacts is a ruse to reassure the very people opposing the continued deindustrialization of our nation. This will not help ordinary Americans or ordinary Latin Americans.

SHERYL GAY STOLBERG
NY Times
July 9, 2010

WASHINGTON — President Obama, who vowed in his State of the Union address to double American exports over the next five years, said on Wednesday that he would renew his efforts to renegotiate long-stalled free trade agreements with Panama and Colombia and persuade Congress to adopt them.

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The two trade pacts, and a third one with South Korea, were negotiated by the administration of former President George W. Bush, but all three have languished in Congress because of deep opposition from Democrats. Mr. Obama said in Toronto last month that he intended to make a new push for the South Korean agreement, and on Wednesday he pledged to press ahead with the two Latin American pacts as well.

“For a long time, we were trapped in a false political debate in this country, where business was on one side and labor was on the other,” Mr. Obama said in the East Room of the White House, at an event intended to highlight his administration’s efforts to promote exports. “What we now have an opportunity to do is to refocus our attention where we’re all in it together.”

Trade is a particularly difficult issue for many Democrats, especially in an election year when jobs are already scarce, because of a widespread view that American workers suffer disproportionately when the United States lowers trade barriers.

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