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Approving free-trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea would be a boon to our economy, create jobs for Floridians, and help solidify our alliances with these steadfast allies. The agreements with Colombia and Panama in particular would boost Florida’s economy, where over 1 million Floridians remain out of work. Unfortunately, the president has inexplicably allowed these golden economic opportunities to languish by not submitting the deals to Congress for up-or-down votes.

An unacceptable consequence of America taking our Latin American neighbors for granted is that China, among other nations, has capitalized on our complacency, signed their own deals, and made great strides to surpass America as the region’s leading trade partner.

A February 2011 Foreign Relations Committee report by Sen. Richard Lugar, “Losing Jobs and Alienating Friends: The Consequences of Falling Behind on Free Trade with Colombia and Panama,” notes that “U.S. market share is being lost to China, Brazil, and other countries in Latin America that benefit from trade accords with Colombia.”

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