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The Colombia deal, which would remove tariffs on U.S. imports, is facing the fiercest opposition from Democrats, who control both houses of Congress. They accuse the conservative Colombian government of failing to protect labor union activists from assassination by right-wing paramilitary groups. Colombian President Alvaro Uribe says his government has prosecuted more suspects in attacks on union leaders than did any previous administration.

South Korean Ambassador Lee Tae-sik warned the United States that it risks a further loss of its share of the Korean economy by blocking the trade deal.

“The United States used to be number one in South Korea,” he told reporters at a Capitol Hill rally Wednesday. “But now it’s number three or four.”

He added that South Korea is already negotiating a free-trade agreement with the European Union.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@washingtontimes.com.