Mitch McConnell, the Republicans’ leader in the Senate, on Thursday welcomed Obama’s call for trade co-operation with Colombia in Wednesday’s State of the Union speech, reports AFP.
“Republicans agree with the need to increase trade and with the need to ratify trade agreements with Colombia and other important trading partners that so far have met resistance on the other side of the aisle,” the Senate minority leader declared.
The Republican senator was referring to opposition from House Democrats to the U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement (FTA), which has been the main obstacle to the implementation of the deal signed in 2006.
Meanwhile U.S. business group the National Foreign Trade Council also responded positively to Obama’s comments, saying that “this means that the administration must act swiftly and without further delay this year to resolve remaining issues that stand in the way of bringing each pending free-trade agreement to Congress for an up-or-down vote,”
Obama did not explicitly call for the ratification of the U.S.-Colombia FTA in his annual speech, but said that his administration will “strengthen trade relations” with Colombia, and warned that the U.S. will lose the chance to create jobs if it does not sign trade deals.
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, failure to implement the FTAs with Colombia and South Korea could cost the U.S. 383,400 jobs