Thursday, July 16, 2009

Comments on COHA's Piece, "Colombia's President Comes to Washington--Uribe's Problematic Reelection Bid"

Free traders are selling the pending U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement as a vehicle for producing American jobs by eliminating Colombian tariffs on American exports. But Colombian President Álvaro Uribe keeps talking about American “investment” in his country. This agreement is about foreign direct investment in Colombia and as such is not a trade deal but an outsourcing deal. Outsourcing deals require investment. Trade deals do not require investment. Trade deals require only the removal of barriers to trade.

When US trade negotiators sat down to negotiate the existing trade deal with Colombia their contempt for the well being of the American people led them to accept a deal where a tariff is applied to US exports to Colombia while imports coming in from Colombia are duty free. That contempt for the Americans continues in the proposed new trade agreement. The spin is that it is about American jobs and indeed a bone is thrown to American workers in the form of no more tariffs on our exports. That bone is near worthless since they have little money to buy from us and what little they do buy from us they have little choice about. They will buy it with or without the tariff. There are fewer jobs for Americans in this agreement not more.

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