Bush Pushes Congress on Colombia Free Trade Deal

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President Bush on Monday asked Congress to pass the Colombia free trade agreement. But many Democrats and union groups oppose the deal.

President Bush has asked Congress to sign a free-trade agreement with the Latin American nation of Colombia. Many Democrats have already vowed to kill the controversial trade pact, which, in fact, has cost an aide to Hillary Clinton his position.

NPR's Adam Davidson reports.

ADAM DAVIDSON: Economically, a free-trade deal with Colombia means a lot more to them than it does to the U.S. After all, Colombia's annual exports to the U.S. are less than what we get from Canada every two weeks. And it's not like Colombian exports are replacing many U.S. jobs. We don't grow much coffee or mine many emeralds. And anyway, most Colombian exports already enter the U.S. duty free.

For the U.S., the Colombia free-trade agreement has always been more about symbols than substance. President Bush sees it as crucial to his free- trade legacy. But many Democrats - notably Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama - oppose the deal, largely because many union leaders have been murdered in Colombia.

Congress has 90 days to decide.

Adam Davidson, NPR News.

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