FTAs are good for the region
PANAMA. The General Secretary of the Organization of American States (OAS), Jose Miguel Insulza, asked the United States’ Congress to r...
PANAMA. The General Secretary of the Organization of American States (OAS), Jose Miguel Insulza, asked the United States’ Congress to ratify the Free Trade Agreements with Panama and Colombia.
Insulza said that the future of free commerce in the region depends on the ratification of these two treaties that have been waiting in Congress for more than 18 months.
“If the government of the United States will ratify the commercial agreements that it has with Colombia and Panama, and if Canada signs the treaty with the Ricardo Martinelli Administration, all the trade agreements in the region will be finalized,” said Insulza.
“Free trade moves when the United States moves and for that reason the ratification of the agreements with Colombia and Panama are essential, because of the signs they will send to the rest of the region,” said the General Secretary.
The ratification of the agreement could be a significant advance and will mean that the United States is abandoning its protectionist policy said Insulza.
Panama’s Commerce Minister, Roberto Henriquez, said Insulza’s request for ratification is very positive and demonstrates the advantages that these two treaties will have for other countries in the region, and will stimulate the attitude and interest that the United States has towards Panama.
“These treaties should have been ratified a long time ago because they are good for everybody and strengthen the economic and commercial bonds of the parties involved.”
“We are glad to have the support of the OAS general secretary, which shows that the subject is not only important to Panama and Colombia, but also to rest of the region,” said Henriquez.
The United States government’s attitude towards the FTAs is changing. US Trade Representative, Ron Kirk, said last Thursday that the US was willing to enforce trade agreements with foreign governments to help revive the US economy which is struggling with the worst recession in decades.
In a speech at a US Steel plant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Kirk said, "I can tell you with no reservations: the Obama administration is both willing and able to enforce our trade agreements. American workers deserve no less.”
“On behalf of President Obama, I am here to affirm this administration's commitment to trade enforcement," said Kirk.
However, Myron Brilliant, US Chamber of Commerce senior vice president for international affairs, issued a statement to follow up on Kirk's remarks, calling for the: "passage of the market-opening trade agreements with Panama, Colombia, and Korea."
"The US Chamber agrees with Ambassador Kirk that trade agreements mean nothing if they aren't enforced," Brilliant said.
"The jobs of millions of American workers, farmers, and companies depend on access to foreign markets, and vigorous enforcement of trade agreements is critical to ensuring that access," said Brilliant.
The Democratic Congress, which is currently focused on health-care reform and economic measures to cope with the global economic crisis, is lukewarm to the passage of the three trade deals.