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  • Hope for Free Trade

    Former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk, U.S. Trade Representative-designate looks on as he is nominated by United States President-elect Barack Obama at a press conference Friday afternoon, December 19, 2008 at the Drake Hotel in Chicago, Illinois.

    Throughout last year’s campaign, President Barack Obama expressed skepticism about the value of free trade, sending signals that America’s commitment to free markets would die with his administration. These fears were only worsened when the Obama administration passed an Omnibus spending bill that has already caused a job killing trade war with Mexico.

    But now there is a glimmer of hope. Politico reports:

    During the [Summit of the Americas], President Barack Obama directed U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk to lead a review of the ultracontroversial Colombia deal to “identify and work through any outstanding issues we might have so we might move forward with that,” Kirk said Monday in a conference call with reporters. “And that process will begin immediately.”

    “President Obama believes very strongly, as do I, that Colombia is a very important ally for the United States,” Kirk said of the potential trading partner that labor unions and other activists have declared unworthy of a trade pact until it cleans up violence against unionists.

    Colombia has made “remarkable progress” in addressing that violence, Kirk said.

    Violence in Colombia is one of the bigger lies big labor has been hiding behind to stop the Colombia Free Trade Agreement. If the Obama administration is now ready to suddenly declare that Colombia is magically doing better on that issue now that Obama is in office, that’s fine with us. Whatever it takes to get these trade agreements past big labor is fine with us.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to Hope for Free Trade

    1. Keith somewhere in t says:

      Rarely has there existed a larger gulf between public perception and reality than what exists in the USA concerning Colombia. No matter who gets the credit, for the benefit of both nations, Congress should now pass the FTA.

    2. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      Obama will only trade with those that benefit Obama, not America!

      Hozro

    3. Steve -- Fort Nyers, says:

      Free trade costs the USA the continuing loss of jobs, factories and industries. In 2008, there was a 821 billion dollar defict in the US trade account for goods. We have been losing in the "Free Trade" business since 1975. Since 2000, the annual losses have been in the 600 to 800 billion dollar range. Americans need to start producing for their own needs before it is too late. If we could bring the industries back to the USA, we would enjoy an annual stimulus of close to 800 billion dollars every year and would begin the move to self sufficiency. The end result would be more jobs, better pay, economic stability and a renewed basis for prosperity. I don't know of any better stimulus to ignite the faltering American economy. Bring the jobs home!

    4. Peter, Dallas Texas says:

      Pass the Fair Tax, make it profitible for companies to return, and our problem will be solved. Companies are leaving because of Americas tax structure, not because if any trade agreements.

    5. Mike, Imperial Beach says:

      What we need is free and FAIR trade. US business has numerous government regulations (environmental, EEOC, OSHA, land use, etc.) tax rates, workmens comp, social security, etc. that add a cost to products made in the US. Fair trade would level the playing field for nations without similar government imposed costs via a "fairness tariff" based on off-setting costs exclusive of different labor rates which reflect cost/quality of life in other nations. There should at least be a leveler for onerous, but sometimes essential government rules. Cheaper foreign labor rates might then be offset by US technology/productivity advantages.

    6. Januz says:

      I really detest the Democrats on just about every issue under the sun. The one issue where I think the Democrats are better than Republicans is on trade, and Obama simply failed on this test. There was a unique opportunity to not only renegociate NAFTA, but to eliminate it, and all trade agreements that do not reach a fair standard. Trade agreements should be allowed only if wage, health, safety, environmental, national security and national sovergnity is protected.

    7. jj says:

      The last time we signed a trade deal with Colombia it allowed them to export to us without tariffs while our goods were taxed. This bad deal happened because our trade negotiators had a callous disregard for American workers. Instead they were getting a deal for American special interests and were willing to ignore the harm done to Americans to get it.

      While this new deal fixes that problem it still disregards Americans. This is an outsourcing deal designed to shift jobs from the USA to Colombia. Colombia only buys from us those things they can not get elsewhere. They can not afford our stuff. That will not change with a new free trade deal. This deal will cost more American jobs that it will create.

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