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Int’l trade group spent over $594,000 lobbying

Associated Press

Int’l trade group spent over $594,000 lobbying

1 July 2008

WASHINGTON - The Emergency Committee for American Trade, a group of large U.S. exporters, spent more than $594,000 in the first quarter lobbying on international trade issues, according to a recent disclosure report.

The group, whose members include Exxon Mobil Corp., Boeing Co. and Merck & Co. Inc., lobbied on legislation involving U.S. import restrictions, customs regulations, international taxes and high-tech export controls.

The association also lobbied on legislation that would implement free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, as well as on free trade talks with Malaysia, according to the report filed with the House clerk’s office April 21.

The U.S. signed free trade agreements with Colombia in 2006 and South Korea and Panama in 2007. Congress has refused to approve implementing legislation, however, due to growing opposition toward such pacts among Democrats on Capitol Hill.

The Bush administration began negotiating a free trade agreement with Malaysia in 2006 but the talks haven’t been completed.

Besides Congress, the trade group lobbied the White House, U.S. Trade Representative, National Security Council and the departments of Treasury, State, Commerce, Justice, Energy and Homeland Security in the first three months of the year.