American Elephants

It’s Time to Move on Free Trade! by The Elephant's Child

President Obama has claimed to favor free trade. But as in so many cases, what he says doesn’t mean there will be any action.   The free-trade pacts with Columbia, Panama and South Korea have been “pending” for the last sixteen months.  Big Labor does not like free trade.  This one big interest group has driven much of Obama’s action or inaction on almost every administration program or policy.

This week there is some rumbling in the background.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made an impassioned plea at the Council of the Americas for Columbia  to hang on just a bit longer, assuring Bogota of  U.S. “commitment”.

John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, is focusing on South Korea and the increasingly dangerous situation on the peninsula.  He made a forceful plea to Obama along with GOP Sen. Richard Lugar, to use the trade pact to seal ties.  It is critical to secure the relationship.

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, and Defense Secretary have separately made pleas for action from Democrats.

Contrary to Union objections, these trade pacts mean job opportunities and markets for U.S. Companies.  The three countries are signing pacts with Europe and other countries while Obama dithers.  There are limits to how long pacts can languish before governments move on.

If this was Obama’s aim, it’s another job killer, and a legacy-killer for his presidency.  It does not serve American interests.

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