President Bush sent a proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Colombia to Congress today. The United Steelworkers (USW) forum used Mexico as an example it's possible negative consequences. Benedicto Martinez, leader of 2 Mexican labor unions, says because of his country's agreement with the U.S., there is no leverage for collective action anymore. USW counselor Dan Kovalik says Americans lost jobs right along with the Mexicans, and this agreement would be no different. Kovalik says the only ones to benefit would be the paramilitary groups perpetrating the violence against unionists. Without any more incentives, Kovalik says there will be no reason for the Colombian president to crack down on the killings.
Most Colombian goods already enjoy a duty-free journey into the U.S., and the proposed agreement would return the benefits. Bush says it will help revitalize American agriculture and further national security interests in South America. He urged Congress to act quickly, but they have 90 business days to vote.