Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Senate Finance and Foreign Relations Committees, issues the followings statement on the Senate approval of bilateral trade agreement with Korea, Panama and Colombia:
“I strongly believe that international trade is good for America, but it must be done properly. Such international agreements can boost our country’s ties with like-minded nations that share our values, helping to strengthen alliances and advancing American interests abroad. American workers can compete with any other workers in the world, but the playing field must be fair and have enforceable rules. Formal trade agreements between nations must be based international standards and protect workers, both at home and with our trading partners. Trade must not reduce us all to the lowest common-denominator.
“I am disappointed by the passage of the Colombia-U.S. bilateral trade agreement. Colombia’s human rights abuses, as well as intimidation and violence against labor leaders, have been documented by the U.S. State Department as recently as 2010. Trade with America is a benefit for deserving nations that share our values, especially with respect to labor rights. Given Colombia’s history and the weakness of enforcement provisions in this specific agreement, I could not support its approval. As a nation, we cannot condone sacrificing the rights of workers in the name of trade.”