Can the U.S. Afford to Lose Any More Friends?

When it looked like we would finally have a signed Free Trade Agreement with South Korea, an important U.S. ally, I was optimistic that it signaled a sea of change in our approach to trade relations. Boy, was I naïve!

The word from the White House is that the U.S.-Colombian Free Trade Agreement, first signed in 2006, will not be readied for final passage. Once again, American trade unions have been able to convince President Obama that passage will result in the loss of American jobs. This is pure fiction – the same kind of sordid claims by American trucking unions that allowing Mexican truckers to transport goods into the U.S. represents a safety hazard. These misguided positions to further selfish self-interests threatens the NAFTA agreement, one of this nation’s most important trade agreements ever negotiated.

So we have now alienated Mexico, and are on the road to alienating Colombia which already can ship 93 percent of its exports into the U.S. duty free. Why would we jeopardize this relationship? Especially after Colombia, which suffered great civilian and military losses, has successfully put under control the FARC guerillas that threatened the stability of the entire region.

The message is clear. We cannot be bothered shoring up our existing friendships with other nations while we can go out into the world trying to mollify our sworn enemies. If you noticed, this has not worked out very well with Iran or North Korea.

The U.S. is losing friends fast and if we want a stable American and world economy, we are going to need every friend we can get. Passing Free Trade Agreements is a sound start because nations seldom go to war against their trading partners.

2 Responses to “Can the U.S. Afford to Lose Any More Friends?”
  1. Neal I agree fully with your comments. During the Bush administration I felt that the approval was being denied for political purposes even though the justification is evident. Now, I believe that the denial of approval is largely based upon ignorance and , of course ,politics. There is no real reason to deny approval of this agreement. However, there seem to be plenty of false reasons or, no reasons at all to deny what will accrue directly to U.S. exporters… Unions have done wonders for U.S. workers in the past but IMHO much of what I see is based upon union leaders trying to justify their existence……at our cost.

  2. Sam Baker says:

    Neal – - Is the Korean Free Trade Agreement officially in place yet ? at least there was an attempt by this administration – - while many countries around the world negotiate and actually sign agreements our “leaders” continue to mention them occasionally .
    Last year the international community went all a twitter over a few sentences in the President’s “State of the Union” address – - he actually said the goal was to “double exports over the next 5 years” Woo Hoo !! Great news ! Well a year has gone by and the president is still saying “over the next 5 years” unless it is a continuing 5 year period , we just burned a year and as best as I can tell not much happened to meet the goal ! So listen carefully this year to see what grand promises we get for “doubling exports” . Increased taxes , regulation and overwelming documentation ,and constant pandering to labor unions , will probably not get it done – - even close!

    I am continuing a careful reading of your book – - really enlightening and clearly well documented , I congradulate you on a job well done !

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