U.S. President-elect Barack Obama
wants to win approval of the stalled free trade deal with Colombia, but further work is needed on the pact,
Democratic lawmakers said on Wednesday.
“The president-elect wants to work with Republicans and Democrats to
get those trade agreements moving,” House of Representatives Ways and
Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel said about the pacts with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.
Earlier this week, outgoing President George W. Bush said failure to
win approval of the three agreements was one of the biggest
disappointments of his second term.
Bush lost a showdown with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last year when
he tried to force a vote on the Colombia free trade agreement, despite
concerns that Democrats had raised against violence toward union
workers in Colombia.
It was never the case that Colombia was “a bad trade agreement,”
Rangel told reporters. Rather, the issue was “whether the
administration was prepared to insist on the protection of labor
leaders in Colombia.” (Reuters)