Former U.S. President Bill Clinton said Thursday in an interview with W Radio that there is no reason why his nation’s congress would oppose passing its pending free trade agreement (FTA) with Colombia.
“I am one of the people who most strongly supports” the FTA, Clinton said and “I believe that it should be ratified by congress.” Clinton stressed that U.S. concerns over Colombian human rights record “have been resolved” and “there is no reason to oppose” the bilateral trade agreement.
Clinton mentioned that “the real problem” for U.S. congress is concern that signing the FTA would lead to “loss of jobs” in a country that is in the midst of an economic crisis.
“Many congressmen come from places where the crisis hit hard and their voters” ask then to oppose all FTAs because they believe that these agreements take away jobs from U.S. citizens.
The former U.S. head of state said that congress will study the bill after the North American nation’s legislative elections, which are scheduled for November. “There is no better friend for the U.S. government than Colombia.”
Bill Clinton was in Colombia with his wife, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was in the country on an official visit.
During his time in Colombia, Bill Clinton met with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe in the presidential office at the Casa de Nariño, as well as with U.S. Ambassador to Colombia William Brownfield, Colombian Ambassador to the United States Carolina Barco, and Colombian Secretary of Foreign Affairs Jaime Bermudez.
While his wife is on a diplomatic tour of various Latin American countries, ex-president Clinton is using the opportunity to raise money for Haiti’s reconstruction following the devastating earthquake that happened there in January of this year. The money is being raised through Clinton’s own charity, the Clinton Foundation.
Clinton also took a look at various projects in Colombia that the Clinton Foundation has helped fund while visiting the country.
The U.S.-Colombia FTA, signed in 2006 by the George W. Bush administration, has been put on hold since the Democrats gained a congressional majority in 2007. The Democrats oppose the Colombian trade deal on the grounds of labor and human rights concerns, and because of the danger they think an FTA poses to American jobs.