Colombia FTA: Inaction A Billion-Dollar Mistake

By May 7, 2008Trade

Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez announced earlier this week that at 8:51 p.m. on Sunday, May 4th, the cost of unnecessary tariffs imposed on American goods entering Colombia had reached $1 billion since the Colombia trade agreement was signed. Yes, that’s billion. With a “B”.

The Department of Commerce estimates that “every single second that goes by without a vote on the Agreement costs roughly $22, and nearly $2 million every day.”

But what’s the real benefit of trade with Colombia for workers in the United States?

Try $523.18. That’s the value of U.S. manufactured goods exports to Colombia last year broken down for every manufacturing worker in the United States. That’s almost the value of the average economic stimulus check that are being mailed out this month.

UPDATE (4:06 p.m.): After kicking around this figure internally with our trade staff, we revisited this figure to develop a more accurate (and more recent) amount. Looking at annualized export figures for this year, the share per manufacturing worker of U.S. manufactured goods exports to Colombia is actually $671.61.

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