Reuters anounced today that President Obama is calling for congress to approve the trade agreement with S. Korea, but Panama and Columbia will just have to wait until they get their act together. Seems democrats don't believe Panama is "clean" enough.
"The other deals have been delayed by concerns among Democrats about human rights in Colombia and tax haven laws in Panama."
Hmmm, isn't that the reason Panama just signed the tax exchange agreement with the U.S.? Either Obama is not fully aware of the "deal" or they want even more from this little soveriegn nation. In any case, many hope all parties continue to hold out as the assembly will surely not ratify the tax exchange agreement without a free trade deal.
By Doug Palmer
WASHINGTON | Wed Jan 26, 2011 11:07am EST
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Tuesday called on Congress to pass a free trade agreement with South Korea "as soon as possible," but offered no timetable for action on two other pacts with Panama and Colombia.
The South Korea "agreement has unprecedented support from business and labor, Democrats and Republicans, and I ask this Congress to pass it as soon as possible," Obama said in his annual State of the Union speech.
But the failure to set any time frame for enacting the other two deals was a disappointment for Republicans, who want prompt action on all the trade agreements left over from the administration of former President George W. Bush.
"I strongly believe that we should consider all three agreements in the next six months," House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp said earlier on Tuesday at a hearing on the pacts.
"This deadline isn't driven by politics or posturing. It is driven by the need to create jobs for American workers," the Michigan Republican said, calling the three pacts "a sure-fire way to create American jobs by growing U.S. exports."
A range of U.S. companies and industry groups have spoken out in support of the South Korea deal, including the United Auto Workers union and Ford Motor Co., which welcomed changes made to address their concerns about market access provisions of the original deal.
The National Association of Manufacturers, the American Farm Bureau Federation, Ford Motor Co, FedEx and MetLife have all testified in support of the pacts.