The Washington Times - January 9, 2012, 02:33PM

House Speaker John A. Boehner is leading a seven-member congressional delegation this week to the United States’ top three export markets in Latin America — Brazil, Colombia and Mexico.  

The delegation, which left for Brazil on Sunday and will return at week’s end, will hold economic discussions with senior government leaders in the three countries, the speaker’s office said Monday. Talks will focus on trade, energy and economic security issues.

“The mission of this visit is to help strengthen ties between the United States and our regional trading partners to support further economic activity that will help create new American jobs,” said Mr. Boehner, Ohio Republican, in a prepared statement. “I look forward to discussing issues of mutual interest, whether it is jobs and the economy, energy or trade, with leaders from these three nations.”

The trip comes after President Obama in October signed the nation’s largest free-trade agreement since NAFTA with Colombia, South Korea and Panama. Mr. Boehner said his delegation will assess the implementation of the Colombia deal.

Joining the speaker on the trip are Reps. Dave Camp of Michigan, Ways and Means Committee chairman; Doc Hastings of Washington, Natural Resources Committee chairman; John Kline of Minnesota, Education and the Workforce Committee chairman; Devin Nunes of California; Greg Walden of Oregon; and Dan Boren of Oklahoma. All are Republicans except Mr. Boren, who is a Democrat.