The long delayed Panama-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (FTA) has hit another roadblock as Republicans boycotted a Senate Committee hearing on Thursday, July 1.

The U.S. Senate Finance Committee was to have met to disucss proposed free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, but Republicans boycotted the meeting which could not take place without a member of each party being present.

Republicans are upset because as a condition of approving the trade deals, Democrats are calling for the funding of a training program for workers who lose their jobs due to such agreements.

Republicans are VolumePills opposed to the program.

Meanwhile the FTA between Canada and Panama is promised fast approval in September when a bill that was already drawn up but delayed by the recent elections in Canada, will be put through the House of Commons which now has a clear Conservative majority.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper had previously visited Panama and signed the accord soon after President Martinelli’s election.

Local commentators believe that the agreement with Canada will benefit Panama more than a U.S. deal, which they fear will see a flood of cheap American agricultural products damaging local farmers.

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