U.S. President Barack Obama said on Thursday that it is time to “clear the way” for trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.
“Now it’s time to clear the way for a series of trade agreements that would make it easier for American companies to sell their products in Panama, Colombia and South Korea — while also helping the workers whose jobs have been affected by global competition,” Obama said in a speech to Congress on jobs and the U.S. economy.
“If Americans can buy Kias and Hyundais, I want to see folks in South Korea driving Fords and Chevys and Chryslers. I want to see more products sold around the world stamped with three proud words: ‘Made in America,'” Obama said.
Washington and Bogota signed a free trade agreement in 2006, but the pact has since been stalled because of Democratic concerns about human rights violations in Colombia. Obama vowed to push the trade deal forward after he and his Colombian counterpart Juan Manuel Santos agreed on labor reforms in Colombia. However, so far, the White House has not sent the pact to Congress for approval