U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Wednesday that Obama plans to implement the pending free trade agreement (FTA) between the U.S. and Colombia this year.
Geithner was asked whether Obama’s announcement in the State of the Union speech in January that he wanted to double U.S. exports in five years will involve passing pending FTAs with Colombia, South Korea and Panama. The trade secretary answered “Absolutely,” reports Reuters.
“I think it requires we work together to pass strong trade agreements that will expand opportunities in … foreign markets. We can’t let other countries go and compete away those markets from us,” Geithner told a Congress hearing.
The Treasury later released a statement saying that issues with the three countries would have to be resolved before the FTAs could take effect.
The FTA with Colombia was signed by previous president George W. Bush in 2006. It has been blocked by Democrats in Congress, who are concerned about Colombia’s human rights record and treatment of organized labor.
U.S. think-tank the Center for International Policy commented recently that the U.S. executive branch under Obama’s leadership has “stopped pushing Congress” to ratify the pending FTA.