Promoting free and open markets is a core CCIA principle, and we have continued to strongly support trade expansion. In particular, we have pushed for passage of the KORUS FTA, not only for the market access expansion it would provide for our industry, but also for its broader economic impact as our second-largest FTA (after NAFTA) with an advanced and important trading partner. Therefore, we applauded the administration’s achievement in reaching final agreement on KORUS in December, paving the way at last to Congressional consideration.
However, some Republicans are now threatening to oppose KORUS consideration unless Colombia and Panama are submitted at the same time. It is tragic that pro-trade Members of Congress would feel the need to delay an economically significant trade agreement with bipartisan support because they do not believe the administration’s explicitly stated commitment to other trade agreements.
CCIA believes that support for free trade puts the long-term merits to the nation as a whole ahead of short-term narrow interests. How unfortunate then that even among those who agree on taking that statesman-like stance, a lack of trust causes such a deep dispute regarding the process of pursuing free trade.
The past few years have seen a deep freeze in which the pending FTAs were locked in cold storage. Now that KORUS appears ready to emerge, we hope that Congress and the administration can reestablish the trust needed to work together toward a robust spring of trade expansion.