The U.S. Congress may still pass the US-Colombia free trade agreement, experts say.
BY CHRONICLE STAFF
Despite the indefinite postponement of a congressional vote, the U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement may be approved as early as this year, leading experts say. "With a measure of good will among the House Leadership, the Bush White House, and the Colombian Government, I think there is still time to find sufficient common ground to approve the FTA by year’s end," says Peter Hakim, president of the Inter-American Dialogue.
Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of the Americas, agrees. "A vote in a lame duck [period] would be more likely so that the issue is taken off the plate for the next president to have to deal with, whoever he or she may be," he says, referring to the period between the November presidential elections and the January inauguration of the next president of the Unite States.
On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 224 against 195 to suspend a vote on the Colombia FTA until the Speaker decides the time is right. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) introduced the measure to avoid a formal vote on the agreement. Prior to that vote, the U.S. Congress had been expected to vote on the Colombia FTA by July 7.
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Keywords: American Association of Port Authorities, Business Roundtable, U.S. International Trade Commission