Unfortunately, however, not for us, but for our competition.

Today’s EU Trade News – weekly digest contained the following headline story about initialing the European Union’s free trade agreement with Colombia:

Trade agreement between the EU and Colombia & Peru
Chief negotiators of the European Commission, Peru and Colombia met in Brussels on 23 and 24 March to initial the final texts of an ambitious trade deal. The Free Trade Agreement will inaugurate a new framework of bilateral trade and investment relations between the European Union and these Andean countries. The initialing will be followed by translation, signature and adoption of this agreement so that it can enter into force as soon as possible for all parties

When the EU agreement goes into effect, European manufacturers will see their products’ prices fall 15 percent in the Colombian market compared to U.S. products.  If you walked into a store and saw two comparable products side-by-side with the major difference being one was 15 percent less expensive than the other, what would you do?  And that’s just what Colombian customers will do as well.

In the meantime, as another month passes as we move from March to April, organized labor’s mistaken opposition to the Colombian trade agreement has taken another $46 million of lost wages and benefits out of the pockets of American workers.1

Frank Vargo is vice president, international economic affairs, for the National Association of Manufacturers.

1The International Trade Commission estimates the Colombian agreement would generate at least $1.1 billion in new U.S. exports annually. The Commerce Department estimates that each $1 billion of exports supports about 6,700 U.S. jobs, so $1.1 billion of exports supports 7,370 jobs. Most of these jobs would be in manufacturing, where the average employee earns $75,500 annually. That works out to $550 million dollars in lost wages and benefits per year — $46 million per month.

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