01 October 2008

Do-Nothing Dems

The Do-Nothing Democrats continue an impressive streak by failing to act on a bilateral trade agreement with Colombia:

That's right. Colombia will still be able to export its goods here without tariffs through 2009, but American exporters will continue to face high barriers in Colombia that the free-trade deal would reduce. So the same "fair trade" crowd that bemoans the U.S. trade deficit wants to have only one-way free trade with Latin America -- free for them to sell to us, but not for us to sell to them. Has anyone told the UAW about all those Caterpillar machinery exports to Colombia that Democrats are blocking?
Colombia is also the only one of the Andean nations that really deserves these trade preferences. The Bush Administration is proposing to remove Bolivia from the list because it isn't cooperating on coca eradication. Ecuador is still on the list, though it is abusing property rights and is attempting a dubious legal raid on Chevron. Peru already has a trade deal with the U.S.
Colombia is our best ally in the region, as well as a democracy with a market economy in a region threatened by Venezuela strongman Hugo Chavez and his ideology. Colombia doesn't need preferential, one-way trade that treats that country like a mere low-wage exporter; it needs a permanent two-way trade agreement that will help transform its economy and let it join the ranks of the world's tiger economies. But that makes too much sense for Mrs. Pelosi's House.

It is shameful that this issue continues to confront us.

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