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Postman on Politics

Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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April 15, 2008 8:40 AM

Another Democrat not yet ready to approve Colombia deal

Posted by David Postman

Congressman Brian Baird, D-Vancouver, has serious concerns about the pending free trade deal with Colombia. Baird said that while the Colombia Free Trade Agreement has been improved, he says reports of violence against labor leaders in the country must be stopped. And he is unwilling to vote for the trade pact until that happens.

It is my understanding that the government of President Uribe has taken important steps to address this, but killings still occur and this is deeply upsetting not only to those who care about labor, but for all individuals who are concerned about human rights and the rule of law everywhere.

Currently, U.S. produced goods face tariffs when being sold in Colombia, but most Colombian goods cross our borders tariff-free. The proposed agreement would eliminate tariffs on U.S.-made goods, thus leveling the playing field for American-made products. Overall, the agreement has a number of positive elements that would improve the status quo, but serious concerns about the safety of labor and political leaders are not yet sufficiently addressed.

You can see here where other Democrats stand on the deal. Republicans in the delegation support it and pushed for a vote last week.

MORE: Congressman Rick Larsen responds as well today, saying he supported the move to delay a vote, but on the specifics he's still unsure what he'd do if it comes back before Congress this year.

We need to make sure Congress is taking care of economic relief for Americans first. Congress must move quickly to pass a second economic stimulus package to get our economy back on track.

I am carefully considering the Colombia FTA and I look forward to having a vote before the end of President Bush’s term.

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