United States President George W. Bush is disappointed he hasn’t been
able to see a free trade pact with Colombia passed through U.S.
Congress, he said during his last presidential press conference Monday.
“A disappointment — not a mistake, but a disappointment was not getting
the three trade bills out of Congress on Colombia, Panama and South
Korea. That was a disappointment. I actually thought we had a shot at
one time and then I was disappointed that they didn’t move out of the
House,” Bush told reporters at the White House.
The Democratic majority in the House of Representatives refused to pass the U.S.- Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (CPTA) because of the occurring murders on unionists in the United States staunchest ally in Latin America.
Bush had repeatedly pressed the importance for both Colombia and the U.S. to allow free trade, but wasn’t able to convince Congress.
Bush — again — stressed the importance of free trade. “I am concerned about protectionism. In tough economic times, the
temptation is to say, ‘Well, let’s just throw up barriers and, you
know, protect our own,’ and not compete. That was the sentiment, by the way, that was in place during decent economic times. After
all, we got CAFTA out of the Congress by one vote.”
“The best way to enhance economic growth in a third world country and to
give people a chance to realize, you know, a better future is through
trade. Been proven,” he added.
President-elect Barack Obama, to be sworn in on January 20, said he would not sign the agreement unless Colombia improves its human rights records.