U.S. President Barack Obama hailed last year’s ratification of a free trade pact with Colombia and other countries in his last State of the Union address before the November presidential elections.
While Obama, who faces stiff opposition from the Republican Party in Congress, focused mainly on tax reforms, he also praised the ratification of the free trade agreements with Colombia, South Korea and Panama, claiming these pacts will create American jobs and improve the U.S.’ competitive position in a global economy.
“Two years ago, I set a goal of doubling U.S. exports over five years. With the bipartisan trade agreements I signed into law, we are on track to meet that goal – ahead of schedule. Soon, there will be millions of new customers for American goods in Panama, Colombia, and South Korea. Soon, there will be new cars on the streets of Seoul imported from Detroit, and Toledo, and Chicago,” said Obama.
The U.S. president said nothing about Colombia — or Latin America in general — in regards to the United States’ aid to combat drug trafficking. In fact, apart from briefly mentioning the Colombia and Panama FTAs, Obama did not mention Latin America or any of the hemisphere’s countries once.
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, in charge of the Republican Party’s rebuttal to the State of the Union, also failed to mention Colombia or Latin America. Instead, the Republican response was mainly about Obama’s staggering recovery from the 2008 economic crisis and a rejection of the U.S. president’s to raise taxes for millionaires.