Korea deal won't pass without Colombia, Panama-Baucus

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 21, 2011 3:10 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A free trade deal with South Korea won't pass Congress unless it is somehow bundled with two other trade deals with Panama and Colombia, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus said on Wednesday.

"It's clear to me that none of these trade agreements are going to pass unless they're all packaged," either in a single piece of legislation or separate bills sent at the same time, Baucus told U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk at a hearing.

Kirk said the Obama administration was working to resolve remaining issues with Colombia and Panama with intent of sending them to Congress for a vote.

"We believe we can wrap up our negotiations with Colombia quickly," Kirk said.

But Senator Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, accused President Barack Obama's administration of "foot-dragging" on the Panama and Colombia pacts.

(Reporting by Doug Palmer; Editing by Doina Chiacu)