(World Trade Interactive)
Both the Senate Finance and the House Ways and Means committees approved July 7 draft legislation to implement free trade agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama. However, prospects for final congressional approval remain in doubt because there is still no clear agreement on how to also extend the Trade Adjustment Assistance program.
The Senate Finance Committee, which is controlled by Democrats, approved with no Republican support a draft Korea FTA bill that includes an extension of TAA through 2013. There was more bipartisan support for a draft Colombia FTA bill that also retroactively reauthorizes the Generalized System of Preferences and the Andean Trade Preferences Act through July 2013 as well as a Panama FTA bill with no additional provisions. In the House Ways and Means Committee, which is controlled by Republicans, no Democrats voted in favor of any of the three FTA bills to protest that none of them included a TAA extension. As in the Senate, extensions of GSP and ATPA were included in the Colombia bill. Read more here.