Statement from Barney Bishop, CEO and President of Associated Industries of Florida
Applauds Sen. Martinez and Gov. Crist for their Support of
Colombia and Panama Free-Trade Agreements
May 7, 2008
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - “Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) and its members across Florida applaud
U.S. Senator Mel Martinez and Governor Charlie Crist for their leadership in supporting free-trade
agreements with Colombia and Panama. The pending approval of these free-trade agreements is
dependent upon prompt action by the U.S. House of Representatives and we encourage the
Speaker of the House to swiftly conduct a free-trade vote.
“In addition to helping our friends abroad, free-trade agreements with Latin America will
significantly aid both national and Florida economies at a time an economic boost is greatly needed.
Florida’s ports would see an influx of commerce with our proximity to Latin America and this
opportunity can not be overlooked. Governor Crist understands the importance of free-trade for all
parties involved, as demonstrated by his economic development trip to South America. The freetrade
agreements will help many Florida companies that currently pay high taxes to export to Latin
American countries and will create more jobs across the state.
“Senator Martinez has also seen first-hand the importance of these agreements while traveling to
Colombia and is certain these critical agreements would be approved if the House would allow it to
go to vote. If approved, free-trade agreements would strengthen America’s important Latin
American allies and ensure democratic ideals prevail.
“AIF continues to be a strong supporter of free-trade by applauding Sen. Martinez’s and Governor
Crist’s support of free-trade agreements with Panama and Colombia. AIF also endorsed NAFTA,
CAFTA and the Peru free-trade agreement, among others. In addition, AIF is also the state affiliate
for the National Association of Manufacturers. Colombia and Panama are our friends and the
United States should extend this agreement for the good of our country, as well as theirs.”
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