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| 12/1/2008 12:00:00 AM

OP-ED: Pass FTA and amend Plan Colombia

Dec 1 -- Two years ago President Bush and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe negotiated a free trade agreement (FTA). Yet when Barack Obama steps into the White House in January, it will still await congressional ratification.

Experts agree that both countries will benefit from the pact - Colombia by attracting investment and the United States by reducing tariffs on its Colombia-bound exports. As a senator and presidential candidate, Mr. Obama opposed the FTA for non-economic reasons, arguing along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that as long as Colombia maintains a dismal human-rights record Congress should not review the agreement. During the last campaign debate, Mr. Obama stated that Colombian "labor leaders have been targeted for assassination on a fairly consistent basis, and there have not been prosecutions."

Read the full column here.
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