I was fortunate to attend an event yesterday where President Bush once again called on Congress to approve free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea. NEMA fully backs the Agreements, which, if approved and implemented, stand to improve U.S. electroindustry exporters' market access in three growing economies with which our industry already has a trade surplus. How can we beat that?
From Speaker Pelosi's perspective, she can beat it by holding up the Agreements and refusing to hold votes — even though there is enough support to pass each one — primarly in deference to U.S. labor groups whose arguments do not hold water and as leverage to reform worker assistance programs.
From President Bush's perspective, he can beat it by 1) underscoring that for one, Colombia and the U.S. are long-time friends and allies, going back to the early 19th century and 2) celebrating the 198th anniversary of Colombia's independence with a mini-concert in the East Room yesterday. The President thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle — as evidenced by his toe-tapping and broad grin — as did all in the diverse crowd.
You can read the President's remarks and see some photos here. By the way, if pro-trade optimists listen to Latin music, what do anti-trade pessimists listen to?