U.S.-Panama Free Trade Agreement: signed June 28, 2007.
U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement: signed June 30, 2007, revised December 2010.
President Obama, State of the Union address, January 27, 2010:
We have to seek new markets aggressively, just as our competitors are. If America sits on the sidelines while other nations sign trade deals, we will lose the chance to create jobs on our shores. But realizing those benefits also means enforcing those agreements so our trading partners play by the rules. And that's why we'll continue to shape a Doha trade agreement that opens global markets, and why we will strengthen our trade relations in Asia and with key partners like South Korea and Panama and Colombia.President Obama, State of the Union address, January 25, 2011:
[L]ast month, we finalized a trade agreement with South Korea that will support at least 70,000 American jobs. This agreement has unprecedented support from business and labor, Democrats and Republicans -- and I ask this Congress to pass it as soon as possible.President Obama, August 15, 2011:
We’ve got pending trade legislation. Tom Vilsack and I were talking on the way over, on the bus here, and the truth of the matter is, is that the agricultural sector in America, the cornerstone of states like Iowa, is doing very well. But we could be doing more. And my general attitude is, why don’t we want to open up markets so that the extraordinary bounty of the heartland of America is making its way there, but also manufacturing is making its way there. . . We should go ahead and get those trade deals done.Wall Street Journal, August 20, 2011:
So there are a whole host of ideas that we could be implementing right now that traditionally have had bipartisan support. The only thing that is preventing us from passing them is that there are some folks in Congress who think that doing something in cooperation with me or this White House, that that somehow is bad politics.
On his three-state tour in the Midwest this week, Mr. Obama repeatedly told audiences that the Korea, Colombia and Panama free-trade deals would all be law by now if not for an obstructionist Congress. Passing the deals is something Congress "could do right now," he said.Agreed.
Except that's not true. Congress can't pass the agreements "right now" because it doesn't have them. They are still sitting on the President's desk. Seriously.
If you are surprised to learn this, you are not alone. White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest only learned the news on Friday during a press conference. Asked why the FTAs haven't been sent, he responded, "We have not sent them over?" . . .
We don't want to pick on poor Mr. Earnest, who is no doubt doing his best, but it's worth noting that all three of these trade deals were signed three or more years ago, before Mr. Obama became President. If he wants them passed, stop the kvetching and send them to Congress.
(via Carpe Diem, Latin American Trade Coalition, Brookings)