A raft of reports appeared this week on the failure of the U.S. Congress to move on free trade agreements. Jobs are supposed to be an economic and political priority, right?
Christian Science Monitor, “US losing jobs as free trade agreement languishes, Colombia says“:
Foreign trading partners who have had to endure the American view that a free-trade agreement with the United States is worth waiting for have a message for the US: Your glacially slow pace of ratifying FTAs is costing you exports, and jobs.
The latest warnings from a would-be free-trade partner come from Colombia. Its free-trade agreement with the US has languished since 2006, awaiting congressional approval.
Colombia’s minister of trade and tourism, Luis Plata, has been in Washington this week to bring these facts to bear (again, via CSM):
- US exports to Colombia are falling.
- Neighbors in the hemisphere – from Canada to Brazil and Argentina – are happily taking up the slack.
- Once market share is lost, experience shows, it becomes difficult to regain.
Reuters’ Doug Palmer also has the story, “Uribe pushes for U.S. trade vote before leaving office.”
Colombia’s pending trade agreement should enjoy broad respect and support not just because its aids U.S. exporters, but because it is a democracy and U.S. ally that has assiduously fought terrorism and international drug trafficking. It’s an “exporter of security,” as Defense Secretary Robert Gates recently noted.
See also The Boston Globe, “Colombia offers lessons for US aid efforts elsewhere“:
With billions of dollars in military and development aid from the United States, Colombia’s image as one of the most dangerous destinations is fading. And now, the Obama administration is hoping to transfer key elements of Colombia’s strategy to other nations in the region struggling with drug violence, lawlessness, and crushing poverty.
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