Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mockup on FTAs Face Onslaught of Amendments

Ahead of today's EST 3:00 p.m. "mock" markup hearing in the Senate Finance Committee, a total of 97 amendments were filed to the three Free Trade Agreement implementing bills: 79 on Korea, 15 on Colombia, and three on Panama.

The amendments range from proposals that enjoy considerable support in the business community (e.g., the Affordable Footwear Act) to many that are widely opposed.

Regardless of the views of a given association or company on any particular amendment, it is widely believed that approval of an amendment could significantly complicate the approval process for the FTAs. The U.S.-Korea FTA Business Coalition believes amending the implementing bills could seriously undermine passage of the agreement.

Given the timing of the hearing and the amount of amendments, there a serious risk that the Senate Finance Committee Chairman will not have a quorum present and that this could significantly delay consideration.

It is critical that Senators vote to approve the final implementing bill in order for these agreements to be ratified prior to the August recess.  We are rapidly running out of time for Congressional consideration this summer and we can ill afford to miss this window of opportunity.

The lists of amendments and separate documents with the amendments are below:

Korea FTA
Amendments to Korea FTA
List of Amendments of the Korea FTA

Colombia FTA
Amendments to Colombia FTA
List of Amendments of the Colombia FTA

Panama FTA
Amendments to Panama FTA
List of Amendments of the Panama FTA

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