USTR Sends Positive Trade Message on NAFTA, Colombia, Panama

By April 21, 2009Trade

From the Wall Street Journal (subscription), “Trade Official Says No Need To Redo Nafta“:

WASHINGTON — The top U.S. trade official said it isn’t necessary to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, despite a campaign promise by President Barack Obama to strengthen the pact’s labor and environmental provisions.

“The president has said we will look at all options, but I think they can be addressed without having to reopen the agreement,” U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk told reporters Monday in a conference call.

From CQ Politics, “Free Trade Returns to the Table“:

On the heels of the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said Monday that a delegation from Panama will visit Washington this week to try to resolve disputes over the U.S.-Panama trade deal. Kirk added that President Obama hopes to clear remaining obstacles to a separate pact with Colombia.

Ultimately, Obama — who met with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe during the summit — believes that “a resolution of the Colombia trade agreement would be a good thing for both economies,” Kirk said.

And Bloomberg, “Obama works to bolster NAFTA.”
Very positive developments, and Ambassador Kirk is doing a fine representing the pro-growth, pro-trade arguments. When the February trade data come out earlier this month, Kirk issued a news release making the case for more trade and trade agreements, “Ambassador Kirk Says Trade Data Underscores Need to Open Markets to U.S. Goods.” There were ways to spin the data into an anti-trade message, but Kirk — and the Obama Administration — chose the pro-trade angle. Which is, of course, the pro-jobs angle, too.

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