Panama moves to top of Obama's list for a trade agreement

May 21, 2009|Chris Kraul of Los Angelos Times. PANAMA CITY — A frequent critic of NAFTA and other trade pacts when he was on the campaign trail, President Obama is now throwing his support behind a trade deal with Panama, courting a potential backlash among his labor supporters.

The administration is expected to make its case before a Senate Finance Committee hearing today in Washington, where his team is likely to face sharp questioning about Obama's change of heart on a deal the president now apparently views as a strategic imperative.