U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk tells the House and Ways Committee that Colombia and Panama are next after South Korea for trade deals, reported the Associated Press Today Wednesday.
The trade negotiator told the Committee that the administration will pursue those trade agreements this year but will not sacrifice concerns over labor and human rights. Kirk stated that President Barack Obama has directed him to intensify talks with Colombia and Panama.
On Tuesday, Senate officials headed by Richard G. Lund released a report that described what the U.S. could lose economically and influentially in the region if it did not sign a free trade agreement with Colombia.
Republicans have been pressing the Obama administration to approve the FTA with Colombia and Panama that was inherited from the Bush administration.
Those who oppose the FTA with Colombia say that the country does not hold high enough standards for labor and human rights to enter into a free trade agreement with the U.S.