If the United States congress does not ratify a free trade agreement with Colombia, signed by the countries’ governments in 2006, it would “be a terrible signal sent to the world,” said U.S. Senator McCain (R-Az) on Colombian radio Friday.
“It would be a terrible signal to send to the world if we did not conclude this agreement with the country that’s been one of the closest allies and supporters in the war on drugs,” McCain told W Radio.
Despite his support for an FTA with Colombia, the Republican senator was not able to say if the changes in U.S. congress following the mid-term elections in November mean the trade agreement will be passed any time soon.
“The president has a new chief of staff, Mr. (William M.) Daley, who was one of the negotiators of a north American free trade agreement (NAFTA) and the administration has also said that they would reevaluate the issue of Mexican trucks coming into the United States which was agreed upon in NAFTA, so I hope that the change in attitude and personnel in the White House will mean renewed support for Colombia, Panama and Korean free trade agreements,” McCain said.
“I hope that many of us in the senate will join together and say that we favor the South Korea free trade agreement but we want to see the Panama and Colombia free trade agreement at the same time.”
“There’s no reason why they shouldn’t be considered and passed by the senate at the same time,” according to McCain.
For now, the senator thinks Congress should “extend the trade preferences so many of the exporters to the United States are not hurt” by the not passing of the FTA.
The Republican senator will visit Colombia this weekend as part of a Latin American tour.