15 April 2008

When Fools lead the Blind

This is an important post.

I wish I could say that the Politicians pushing for the death of the U.S.-Colombia Free-Trade Agreement were merely ignorant. Instead I would say that it rises to a level of ideological corruption that indicates the real stuff that Pelosi, Obama, and Clinton are made of. Their stance is opposed by many other Democrats, as shown in today's Wall Street Journal.

Among the reasons given by the FTA's opposition is a stated concern about the union worker. This Boston Globe editorial by Edward Shumacher-Matos explains how the pact would actually benefit U.S. exports into Colombia by lowering tariffs on U.S. goods significantly:

US goods, however, still face tariffs of 35 percent and higher. Under the new agreement, 80 percent of US auto parts, medical equipment, and farm and other products will be duty free immediately. The rest will be phased in over 10 years.
The Colombian government is making the bigger sacrifice because a permanent agreement removes uncertainty for investors. Trade, combined with US support for Colombia's military and justice system, have helped Colombia beat back a leftist insurgency, largely demobilize right-wing paramilitaries, and spark a boom that has reduced poverty, unemployment, and the economic weight of drug mafias.

In fact, many Colombian Unions are in favor of the pact. Mary Anastasia O'Grady had a must-read article in yesterday's WSJ. The FTA will bring investment and should promote economic stability. In spite of the competition that it may expose them to, they recognize the net benefit of freer trade. For more see the video below.

I've had an interest in Colombia for many years. It's sad that this issue has been politicized to the point of jeopardizing the tremendous progress made in that country during this decade.


Sportsattitude said...

Having been laid off twice due to American companies moving production out of the U.S., I'm probably likely to be first in line to blast anything like the agreement proposed, but I'm not that jaded. While a lot of the horses have already left the barn and we've done a lousy job with jobs 'til now the pact as outlined in your post seems worth the pursuit. At this point, any situation that could result in tipping the scales back in our direction should be examined for its worth...carefully...but certainly not dismissed simply because of the mistakes of the past. This sounds like it might have some merit.

Jlowryjr said...

Your perspective is certainly different than mine, given your personal experience.
This is something that should should only help our goods be more competitive, so that's why this has such broad bi-partisan support. It should have become politicized. But everything is politicized today.