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January 30, 2008 

Colombia, Panama and South Korea Free Trade Agreements Face Uphill Battle in Congress

The Politico, a Washington, DC-based newspaper and website which covers politics and lobbying, reports that the President's efforts to convince Congress to approve the Colombia, Panama and South Korea Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) faces serious resistance from the Democratic leadership.

The article notes that the following significant issues remain with all three FTAs:

Colombia - There is serious resistance due to concerns over violence against workers in Colombia and the need for Congress to overhaul the federal program that gives retraining and other benefits to workers displaced by trade (click here for more information on the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program).

Panama - The State Department and Congress have raised concerns after Pedro Miguel González Pinzón, who was indicted in the U.S. for killing a U.S. soldier, was elected to lead Panama's national assembly.

South Korea - Congress is unlikely to approve a FTA with South Korea until the country permits access to all types of U.S. beef. South Korea prohibited all U.S. beef imports when the first case of mad cow disease was found in the U.S. in 2003. In April 2007 Korea began permitting boneless beef from animals under 30 months of age. However, Korean imports of U.S. beef were suspended again in October 2007.




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