Hatch Applauds Administration’s Action to Move Forward with U.S.-Colombia Trade Pact
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, applauded the Obama Administration’s announcement that they are set to begin work on implementing legislation for the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement and pledged to work to get all three pending trade agreements through the Senate. The other two outstanding agreements are with South Korea and Panama.
“While long overdue, the Obama Administration’s decision to begin the process for preparing the implementing legislation for the U.S.-Colombia trade agreement is extremely welcome news and a strong indication that the three pending trade pacts will finally move in tandem through Congress,” said Hatch, who during a hearing on the President’s trade agenda in March, made clear that he would do everything in his power to make sure that all three agreements were considered at the same time. “With a combined economic impact of over $12 billion, the trio of trade pacts will boost export opportunities for American-made products and spur much-need job creation for American workers.”
Hatch continued, “Moving forward, it is imperative the Obama Administration does not put any more obstacles on consideration of the three pending trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. A robust trade agenda that opens markets to American products is a critical tool in our arsenal for promoting strong economic growth and job creation. Passage of these agreements is critical and I pledge to work in a collaborative manner with Chairman Baucus to move these agreements forward in a constructive and meaningful way.”
This Congress, Hatch has repeatedly called on the Obama Administration to consider the pending trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea, which were concluded and signed under the Bush Administration and have languished since. In February, Hatch spearheaded a letter with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to the President calling for the advancement of the trade agreements with Colombia and Panama. He also joined Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus in calling on Ambassador Ron Kirk to put forth a timetable for action on the Colombia trade agreement and joined 43 other Senate Republicans in announcing his intent to withhold support for any nominee for Commerce Secretary or any trade-related nominees until the President submitted the Colombia and Panama agreements for congressional approval.
The implementation of the pending trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea will yield economic dividends for American farmers, companies, and workers. According to the International Trade Commission, the U.S.-Korea FTA (KORUS), the largest agreement negotiated in over two decades, will increase exports of American goods by over $10 billion while the bilateral trade agreements with Colombia and Panama will expand U.S. exports by more than $1 billion a year.