Richard Cohen, Politico The White House’s free trade negotiations with South Korea, Colombia and Panama are about to look like a piece of cake, compared to the work ahead to get House Democrats to agree on the details. Already Republicans are on board, another show of President Barack Obama’s ability to work with the GOP while irking his party’s liberal base.
Specialty fabrics manufacturers to Congress: "Jobs are at stake!" Sun Herald At a time when the U.S. is facing record unemployment, a group of specialty fabrics manufacturers is engaging in everything short of a bake sale in Washington, D.C. to draw attention to the latest fight for some of the last jobs still standing.
David Dayen, Firedog Lake The Obama Administration moved forward on a free trade agreement with Panama today, satisfying the final condition put up by Republicans to allow Congressional action on stalled trade agreements with South Korea and Colombia. The White House supplied a fact sheet on the deal. The sticking point with Colombia was the murder of trade unionists and organizers; the sticking point with Panama was its rampant use as a US tax shelter. As part of the deal, the US and Panama implemented a Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) that will in theory improve the exchange of information on tax dodgers. There are also claims of new protections for workers’ rights in Panama, similar to the Colombia assurances.
Todd Tucker, Foreign Policy When Barack Obama was elected back in 2008, he committed to breaking with the same flawed trade policy the United States has followed for a generation. Obama promised a new page, one that focused on creating American jobs and protecting the environment. Instead, his administration has flip-flopped on these campaign promises and is now pushing free trade agreements (FTAs) that are projected to cost American jobs, undermine U.S. negotiating credibility, and could even dampen the president's electoral prospects in 2012.
Ben Smith, Politico AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka -- normally a steadfast ally of President Obama and congressional Democrats -- aired his differences with the administration in a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill last week and reiterated his complaints on MSNBC today, criticizing the administration over pending free trade agreements and the President's own spending plan.
By Keith Laing, The Hill The Obama administration should not give Mexican trucks full access to U.S. highways under NAFTA, a liberal Democrat said Friday. In a letter to the agency administering a program that would allow Mexican trucks into the U.S., Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) said the administration was pushing the “full liberalization of cross-border trucking” with its proposed pilot program under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Kristen Ridley, Change.org Despite its relative absence in the media, the U.S.'s pending free trade agreements (FTAs) with Columbia and South Korea have been getting a lot of attention in Washington. Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have been heavily urging Obama to submit the deal for approval as soon as possible. Unfortunately, like NAFTA before it, the Korea FTA is a terrible deal for family farmers.
A panel of industrial and defense experts warned today that the steep decline in America’s manufacturing base has dire consequences for the nation’s ability to provide good jobs and defend itself. Noting that because the defense industry and the manufacturing sector are tied together, whole civilian industries are linked with defense manufacturing, said Dr. Joel Yudken, author of Manufacturing Insecurity: America’s Manufacturing Crisis and the Erosion of the U.S. Defense Industrial Base.
Free Trade Agreement unlikely to increase sales of U.S. cars in South Korea By Truman Lewis, ConsumerAffairs.com A newly released study by the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) warns that the already hard-hit U.S. auto industry is in for more pain if a new trade agreement is approved by Congress.
The Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call recently reported that the government of South Korea is paying Washington-based lobbying and public relations firms to push Congress to pass the pending Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA).