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Hare Responds to President Bush's Call for Passage of Free Trade Agreement with Colombia

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Hare Responds to President Bush's Call for Passage of Free Trade Agreement with Colombia

Congressman Phil Hare (D-IL), a member of the House Trade Working Group and a former union member, released the following statement in response to President Bush's comments about the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) at the White House today.

"With the Senate's unfortunate passage of the flawed Peru FTA, it is no surprise that the Bush Administration has shifted its focus to an even more disturbing trade agreement with Colombia.

"In calling for swift passage of the Colombia FTA today, President Bush made no mention of that nation's shameful record of violence against union organizers.

"While supporters of the Colombia FTA boast about the great progress made under President Alvaro Uribe, the fact remains that more labor leaders have been murdered in Colombia than the rest of the world's nations combined.

"Furthermore, the perpetrators of these heinous acts have not been brought to justice. According to Colombian labor rights groups, more than 2,500 trade unionists have been killed over the last 20 years and 26 in 2007 alone, with almost all cases remaining unsolved.

"This is unacceptable. America has no business trading with a nation where forming or joining a union can cost you your life.

"While President Bush says that rejecting the Colombia FTA would be an ‘insult to a friend,' I believe passing it would be an insult to workers and their advocates everywhere.

"The strong Democratic vote last month against the Peru FTA—which supporters claimed would pass with ease—sent a clear message about the direction this Congress is moving when it comes to unfair trade agreements. If brought up for consideration, I have no doubt the Colombia FTA would face an even fiercer battle."

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