Sunday, July 10, 2011

Politics of free trade

Kezia McKeague at Americas Quarterly takes a good look at the politics of passing FTAs with Colombia and Panama.  It is sausage making at its worst.  Further, after reading about this issue for several years, I have to wonder whether many legislators care much whether an FTA passes.  Democrats want to make a point about human rights, while Republicans want to make a point about Obama's failures in Latin America.  The economics of the agreement often seem tangential to the debate.

In fact, there is obvious concern that an FTA with Colombia would actually mean a net loss for the United States.  We are even contemplating punishing Mexicans and Canadians as a result!

Canadian exporters warned Friday of a possible deterioration in North American trade relations due to a push in Congress to slap U.S.-bound Canadian and Mexican travelers with a surcharge.
The surcharge, estimated at $5.50 per passenger and proposed by the House Ways and Means Committee, is designed to offset lost revenue resulting from a free-trade pact with Colombia.

Not exactly a good neighbor policy.


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