I watched the debate last night, and had far more fun tweeting and reading tweets than watching. But I was surprised when Mitt Romney inserted Latin America into his opening statement.
My plan has five basic parts. One, get us energy independent, North American energy independent. That creates about four million jobs. Number two, open up more trade, particularly in Latin America; crack down on China if and when they cheat. Number three, make sure our people have the skills they need to succeed and the best schools in the world. We’re far away from that now. Number four, get us to a balanced budget. Number five, champion small business.
When I recovered from the shock of hearing Latin America in a debate, I wondered what the heck he was talking about. We have FTAs all over the place in Latin America and have tons of trade even with our so-called adversaries. Interestingly, Romney does not even mention Latin America in the trade portion of his campaign website.
Just as an example, from a 2011 CRS Report for Congress:
So our exports have been growing. It's fine to aim for more, but he made it sound as if this was some pressing problem. I know, I know, it was a debate, and those are not meant for facts.