The U.S. ambassador to Colombia explained to W radio that the Republican boycott of the pending Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is simply routine disagreement that poses no real threat to its ratification.
Republican senators Thursday boycotted a Senate Finance Committee meeting to discuss the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), a controversial program that would re-train and provide healthcare to U.S. workers who lose their jobs because of to the FTA. Democrats recently attached this program to the FTA, much to the chagrin of conservatives, to appease concerned worker unions.
U.S. Ambassador Peter McKinley denied the Republican protest as a legitimate blow to the FTA. He said the boycott “is part of how they should address these issues in Congress.”
McKinley asked for patience and understanding, admitting that the situation is “difficult to understand.”
“It would be better to have a strong agreement that consolidates and says that the North American market will be open to the Colombian market without tariffs…I hope that [the boycott] is a setback and we can have a happy conclusion.”