On Tuesday, Mexico and Canada called for Congress in Washington to approve the free trade agreement between the United States and Colombia, which was sent Monday by President George W. Bush to the corporate body without assuring its approval.
“Mexico already has a free trade agreement with Colombia”, said the Mexican Chancellor, Patricia Espinosa. “We have great hope that the U.S. Congress will give the treaty ratification with Colombia the importance that it deserves”.
The Canadian Chancellor, Maxime Bernier affirmed that his country is negotiating a free trade agreement with Colombia that should be concluded “inside a few months” and the approval of the Colombia-U.S. agreement shall put the South American country in a privileged position to count on agreements with the three North American countries. “We believe in free commerce and economic liberty”, he affirmed.
Espinosa and Bernier formulated their commentary in a State Department press conference at the conclusion of a first round of tripartite conversations with the Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, under the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, a communications channel created in 2005.
Rice said that free commerce-–which has united the three countries since 1994--is a permanent theme of the tripartite agenda and during this tripartite meeting this was fully realized due to Bush’s decision to unilaterally send the treaty with Colombia to Capitol Hill to force a vote in a maximum term of 90 days.
“Bush”, said Rice, “hopes to be able to work in cooperation with Congress to reach a vote and its approval”.
The democratic opposition in the Capitol expressed their rejection of the Bush action and elaborated that the Colombian agreement was condemned to failure if it did not have bipartisan support.
In a message released to Congress by the White House on Tuesday, Bush reiterated that “the approval of the law and implementation of the agreement is part of our national interests. I exhort Congress to proceed favorably and very quickly if possible”.
In Miami, where the Inter-American Development Bank holds its annual assembly of governors, the president of that institution, Luis Alberto Moreno, said that he believes that in Congress there exists “sufficient votes for Colombia to get the treaty that it is waiting for from its best ally”.