Passage of a FTA with Colombia and Panama would greatly benefit Caterpillar but many business people in Colombia are worried that concessions will be made to strengthen unions in the Colombia private sector. Senator Aaron Schock is part of a delegation heading to Columbia and Obama himself is meeting with the president of Panama.
Some politicians from Colombia were pleased with the deal but then got the bad news that Obama was running for president again in 2012. They realize that Obama can not offend big labor in the U.S. Colombia business fears rising costs of labor that they already feel are too high. U.S. unions support of the giving more control to unions in Colombia have led the opposition to these FTA agreements. Union political pressure on Obama has been the largest stumbling block to a deal that would benefit both countries greatly.
In the meantime, both Argentina in South America and Canada's Champion undercutting the Cat's U.S pricing are making inroads in both Colombia and the the U.S.
Caterpillar and the Republicans are making an all out push both to get these FTA's signed. Caterpillar in advertising and lobbying, which they should be doing, to open free trade with Colombia, Panama and also South Korea.