At a joint news conference with President Obama in Santiago, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera urges the United States (which in this case would mean first the Obama Administration) to enact the pending Free Trade Agreements with Colombia and Panama.
[We] would like to raise our voice to ask for countries like Colombia and Panama also to have free trade agreements with your country and may join in this Trans-Pacific Partnership initiative. It’s going to be a free trade area on both sides of the Pacific Ocean and where we will find the largest free trade market in the world.
Also, we are concerned about the delays and tensions of the Doha Round. I know that the United States is going to make efforts for this to move forward.
And then, on the other hand, I would like to raise to you a much closer collaboration in the field of science, technology, innovation and undertaking, because in modern times free trade has to be not only of goods but of ideas; not only of services but of knowledge; not only of investments but also of technology.
According to Bloomberg’s report from Chile:
The country was the first in South America to sign a free- trade agreement with the U.S. Since it took effect in 2004, Chilean exports to the U.S. increased 44 percent and imports from the North American country nearly tripled, according to Chile’s central bank.
The story is headlined, “Obama Pledges to End U.S.’s Neglect of Latin America’s Dynamic Economies.” Well, that would include Colombia and Panama, wouldn’t it?
Colombia Reports also covers the news, reporting that President Obama, like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, fails to mention the pending FTAs in circumstances where the omission really stands out.