News of Note
USTR Kirk Testifies Before The Senate Finance Committee; KORUS Ready For Congressional Approval, But U.S.-Columbia and U.S.-Panama FTAs Need Work
USTR Kirk testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance on March 9. During his testimony, USTR Kirk stated that USTR was prepared to draft implementing legislation for KORUS, but that the U.S.- Columbia and U.S.-Panama Free Trade Agreements ("FTAs") still needed further work. Several senators, including Senator Max Baucus of Montana and Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, pressed USTR Kirk to have the Obama Administration send all three FTAs to Congress immediately for approval, but USTR Kirk testified that there were core labor and environmental issues that remained to be resolved in the U.S.-Columbia and U.S.-Panama FTAs and the Obama Administration would not compromise on those issues. USTR Kirk also testified that although China has made improvements in complying with its trade commitments, the United States must remain vigilant on China.