Lugar Says No Trade Deal, Without All Three Trade Deals
Obama Administration is Costing Indiana Jobs and Opportunities
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Senator Dick Lugar, the Ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today vowed to help block the Obama Administration’s South Korea free-trade agreement, unless the Colombia and Panama trade agreements signed by former President George W. Bush are also submitted to Congress for approval.
“Jobs are being lost in Indiana,” Lugar said. “Trade opportunities are being lost all because the Obama Administration is bowing to interest group pressure.”
Lugar said that while the unemployment numbers in Indiana have improved slightly, “Hopes for economic growth in the United States and Indiana depend greatly on executing a global strategy to open markets to our exports. Holding back the Panama and Colombia free trade agreements because of the complaints of labor unions would underscore to our competitors that the Obama trade agenda is in disarray. It would signal that the United States isn’t going to compete aggressively for markets.”
Last year, Indiana exports grew for the first time since the beginning of the recent recession. Lugar explained. Hoosier farmers and manufacturers made $14.6 billion in exports. “But exports to Colombia and Panama dropped 12 percent and 14 percent respectively because the Obama Administration is dragging its feet on those trade deals while it panders to its anti-trade political constituency.”
At a recent hearing with Treasury Secretary Geithner, Lugar said that if President Obama, “does not commit the prestige of his office to an aggressive and broad campaign to open markets, he will be weakening chances for sustained economic growth in this country.
In February, Lugar’s Republican staff on the Foreign Relations Committee issued a report on the need to ratify trade agreements with Colombia and Panama. The report, “Losing Jobs and Alienating Friends: The Consequences of Falling Behind on Free Trade with Colombia and Panama,” is accessible at http://lugar.senate.gov/issues/foreign/lac/.