No Maine lawmakers voted for all three free trade treaties, with only Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, voting in favor of two.

Reps. Mike Michaud, D-2nd, and Chellie Pingree, D-1st, voted against all three.

“The working people and the middle class don’t want these trade agreements. Not with Panama, not with Korea, and not with Colombia,” Michaud said.

Pingree charged that the three treaties could cost thousands of American jobs.

Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, voted for the Panama treaty even as she voted no on Colombia and South Korea. She said the Panama deal is “bolstered by progress the country has made to eliminate concerns about banking secrecy, and thus has the potential to open up new export opportunities for our economy.”

But Snowe said the Obama administration is only the latest White House, Republicans and Democrats alike, to do a poor job enforcing trade rules.

“With the nation’s unemployment rate stuck at an alarming 9.1 percent, our first priority in Congress should be defending American jobs and enforcing our trade rules so domestic producers are able to grow and compete in a global economy,” Snowe said in a statement after the vote.

Collins voted for Panama and South Korea treaties, but against the Colombia agreement.

Collins said she views the South Korea deal as beneficial to the ability of Maine farmers and businesses to export their products, citing figures showing that South Korea is the fifth largest international market for Maine products from wood pulp to frozen potatoes.

But when it comes to Colombia, Collins said, “Violence against labor unions continues at an unacceptably high rate in that country. While I appreciate that the Colombian government has taken steps to improve … I think more time is needed to assess the progress in this area.”

MaineToday Media Washington Bureau Chief Jonathan Riskind can be contacted at 791-6280 or at: [email protected]


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