Bush pushes Colombia free trade agreement
President Bush used a speech at the Port of Jacksonville, Fla. Tuesday to push Congress to pass free trade bills for Colombia, Panama and South Korea that are pending in Congress.
After a tour of Jacksonville's Blount Island Terminal with Capt. Magnus Lindeback, chief executive officer of stevedore Coastal Maritime, President Bush spoke to an audience of 250 invited guests. Acknowledging it is a challenging time for the economy, Bush called for passage of the agreements this year as a matter of national security and to boost to the economy.
Jacksonville Port Authority Executive Director Rick Ferrin (from left), Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, and Magnus LIndeback, chief executive officer of stevedore Coastal Maritime, flank President Bush on a tour of the Blount Island Terminal.
Emphasizing the importance of approving the agreement with Colombia, the president said, 'Most goods coming from Colombia today are duty free, but our exports to Columbia almost always have high tariffs.' Passage of the trade agreement, he said, would level the playing field and boost exports to Columbia and support an important partner in the war on terrorism.
'Last year exports accounted for 40 percent of our growth. We cannot cut ourselves off from the global market. I have faith in our ability to compete,' he said. ' Hayes Howard