Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper spoke to the Council of Foreign Relations yesterday. The CBC story accurately portrays the tenor of the speech, but the Toronto Star’s reporting highlighted a passage worth noting:
“Colombia needs its democratic friends to lean forward and give them a chance at partnership and trade with North America,” Harper said. “I am very concerned that some in the United States seem unwilling to do that. What message does that send to those who want to share in freedom and prosperity?”
Today’s Politico carries an op-ed by House Republican Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) on Colombia.
[In] a world where trade is an essential tool of diplomacy — a tool that can be used to secure real economic and geopolitical goals — it’s disappointing that members of Congress who claim to favor the use of soft power to cultivate friendships around the world nonetheless seem unwilling to pursue commerce and investment as a key element of that strategy.
Such is the strategy that has come to direct our foreign policy in much of Latin America as of late, with the United States forging formal trade agreements with Mexico, Central America and Chile — and likely agreements with Peru and Panama.
To cut out from this policy our friends in Colombia — our closest and most cooperative ally on the continent — would send a terrible message to the region and represent an enormous loss of investment and strategic position in our own hemisphere.
Meanwhile, the Peruvia blog features a daily compendium of English-language news about Peru and the free trade agreement.
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