Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) issued the following statement today after former Republican and Democratic senior government officials issued a joint letter calling for passage of the pending free trade agreements with Colombia and Panama within the first half of 2011. The letter included signatures from six former United States Trade Representatives, two former White House Envoys to the Americas; and 11 former Assistant Secretaries of State for the Western Hemisphere who served in these positions for the previous six U.S. Presidents.
Chairman Camp stated: “This letter illustrates yet again the bipartisan support enjoyed by the Colombia and Panama trade agreements – and how urgently U.S. workers and exporters need a firm plan by the Administration that will allow Congress to consider these agreements by July 1. In joining my own repeated calls for a July 1 deadline, these nineteen former senior officials from both Democrat and Republican administrations detail the tremendous loss of market share and opportunity that American exporters are experiencing because of our failure to move forward with these agreements. For too long, the Administration has failed to identify its specific concerns with these agreements and to establish a concrete plan for resolving those concerns and moving the agreements forward. The time for action is now—and today’s letter makes clear that the Administration can count on bipartisan support if it finally moves forward with these important agreements.”
A copy of the letter can be found here.