U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, met earlier today with U.S. Ambassador to Colombia, P. Michael McKinley, to discuss the pending U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"I was pleased to meet with Ambassador McKinley this afternoon to discuss how U.S. economic and national security interests will be advanced by the passage of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement.
"Once the agreement is approved, American businesses will finally be able to compete on a level playing field. By the Administration's own estimate, the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement will increase American exports by more than one billion dollars annually, which will result in the creation of thousands of new jobs for Americans.
"While I am pleased that this agreement will soon pass, I am disappointed that so many of my Democratic colleagues have decided to oppose it. The U.S.-Colombia FTA reaffirms our commitment to our strong democratic partner and steadfast ally against narco-guerrillas and extremists who are trying to destabilize the region. Colombia has also stood with the U.S. at the United Nations in opposition to the unilateral Palestinian statehood scheme, and has supported efforts to impose strong sanctions on the Iranian and Syrian regimes.
"Democrats voting against this agreement fail to appreciate how our partnership with Colombia enhances U.S. national security interests in the region and around the world.
"I will continue to reach out to my Democratic colleagues to ask for their support for the U.S.-Colombia FTA, and I look forward to the House approving all three pending free trade agreements next week."