Oct 05, 2011 | By Mary Ellen Lacy, D.C.
Tuesday, the president announced that the long awaited trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama would be sent to Congress for approval. The repeatedly forestalled extension of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program (TAA), a non-negotiable element for the administration during talks with the GOP, appears to be advancing as well.
The trade agreements are expected to promote economy, increase the export business and infuse opportunities into our job market. This is also an important step for the Obama Administration because these agreements play pivotal roles in advancement of the American Jobs Act. The agreements are expected to hit the Senate floor for approval as early as this week.
The agreements have been delayed because House Republicans would not agree to an extension of the TAA, a program enacted to assist U.S. workers who lose their jobs in the wake of the trade deals. The Obama Administration refused to submit the three trade agreements for approval without assurance that the TAA would be extended.
NETWORK opposes any trade agreement with Colombia because Colombia’s labor practices eliminates it as a morally acceptable partner in trade. In Colombia, there are no protections for labor organizing; peasants have been relocated off their land; and human rights and civil rights are routinely ignored. The United States of America should not be willing to enter into a trade agreement with those who engage in violent and unjust trade practices. In this instance, we are looking out for ourselves with an absolute disregard for others. And it is just plain wrong.