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Biz groups press Obama on his FTA opposition

KBS World Radio, Korea

Biz Groups Press Obama on his FTA Opposition

7 November 2008

U.S. business leaders are urging President-elect Barack Obama to withdraw his opposition to free trade agreements. Obama has opposed bilateral FTAs without market protection measures and has asked for improvements in the labor practices of partner countries.

U.S. business organizations, including the 12-hundred-member Latin American Free Trade Association, sent a letter Thursday to the president-elect. They said failure to swiftly ratify the FTAs with Colombia and Panama will cost the U.S. its Latin American allies at a critical juncture. They stressed the trade deals will help boost the U.S. economy.

The move follows a statement just after the presidential election by Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio. He said that American voters have been continuously shown their discontent with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and that ratification of the FTAs must be withheld until fair trade practices take root.

Obama has, on multiple occasions, cited the need to review U.S. trade accords with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.