Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Romney and Latin American Trade

Mitt Romney mentioned Latin America again in the debate. It obviously is uppermost in his mind.

I'm also going to dramatically expand trade in Latin America. It's been growing about 12 percent per year over a long period of time. I want to add more free trade agreements so we'll have more trade.

There is one problem per sentence.

First, I am not sure it is possible to dramatically expand trade, as we already trade quite a lot. The only real way to increase trade is by opening up to Cuba.

Second, and perhaps this answers the first, is that Latin America is definitely not growing at 12%. He might be figuring Latin American countries are growing so fast they can import a lot more U.S. products.

Third, there are not many countries left that are interested in free trade agreements--I doubt he has any particular country in mind. We actually already have a lot.

This is nitpicking to a certain extent. His point is that we need to focus more on Latin American trade, which is fine. But if elected, I wonder whether he will actually be able to do much more than President Obama.


boz 8:48 AM  

On point one, the United States is already one of Cuba's largest trading partners. In fact, Cuba is rejecting items coming from the US and placing higher tariffs and customs fees on people trying to import things. Many of the trade restrictions are on the Cuban side these days, though they still blame the US for their problems. There may be some small room for growth if the "embargo" is dropped, particularly if the US drops the requirement that Cuba must pay cash (no credit or loans) for US imports, but it's probably smaller than most people think.

Mike Allison 11:03 AM  

I'm pretty sure that Romney was referring to trade between the US and Latin America growing at a healthy 12% clip, not that LA's GDP is growing at 12%.

Trade with LA is going to continue to grow no matter who is president with increasing populations everywhere and a growing middle class in LA.

Finally, yeah I still don't get the I am going to push for more FTAs with Latin America. There's no one really itching for another FTA as far as I can tell. On Twitter, someone said that it's not about new FTAs with countries that where we don't currently have them. It's combining existing FTAs into a single, larger FTA bloc.

Greg Weeks 3:02 PM  

Boz, maybe so, but Cuba is the only country where such an opening exists because of current laws making it difficult. However, it occurs to me that blockages also exist because of farm subsidies, and I haven't heard him addressing that.

Mike, if he meant trade is up by 12%, then he is essentially saying Obama is already successful at increasing trade, which I don't think is his point.

Countdown to November 3:21 PM  

I'm sure there are some merits to what you're saying, but at the same time, the fact still remains that the United States is yet to officially sign any bilateral free trade agreements with Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador, and a number of other Latin American and Caribbean countries.

That being said, there's little doubt that Romney has exaggerated the economic benefits of opening markets and you state that point very well.

Greg Weeks 3:50 PM  

I don't know about Uruguay, but the problem is that those other countries don't want FTAs so no president can get them. Brazil in particular is not interested until the US stops subsidizing agriculture.

Nolan,  12:12 PM  

The only way the US will get FTAs with Argentina and Ecuador is by forcibly removing their governments. We might as well include Venezuela while we are at it.

In fact the same can be said for Brazil, who has no incentive to sign a FTA with the US right now.

Justin Delacour 2:44 PM  

Again, my own guess is that the Latin America trade plug has more to do with domestic politics than any actual plan on Romney's part. Bottom line is that he's gotta win Florida and needs more support among Hispanics to win the presidency. This is one of the few ways that he can try to signal to target voters that he cares about U.S.-Latin America relations.

I'm with Mike that Romney knows that Latin America is not growing 12% a year and that that's not actually what he was saying.

Greg Weeks 5:28 PM  

I wonder, though, whether Cuban Americans in Florida care at all about FTAs. They care about Cuba. I get what you're saying, though--it is a cost-free way of saying "Latin America" in a way that Obama is not doing.

Justin Delacour 9:21 PM  

Right, a "cost-free" way of just getting the phrase "Latin America" in there. That's what I think.

Defensores de Democracia 5:34 PM  

Mitt Romney is a Great Bullshitter and Poseur as a genius in Business : He said in the first debate that Obama has not closed any Trade Agreements. That is clearly false because Obama closed the pacts that had been discussed for 7 years with three countries

And Romney said more blather about closing deals in the future with Latin America. But the U. S. has trade agreements with the most important countries of Latin America, in Business and GeoPolitical considerations. Obama has not been lazy in that respect.

U. S. Exports to LatAm have been increasing at a very fast pace during the last 20 years, thanks to Presidents Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. So what he says is just idle blather.

The Lies of Mitt Romney in Foreign Trade are more protuberant, ugly bulging, if you consider that after Canada, Latin America is the most important Area for U. S. Exports, growing at a fast rate, and yes more important than China, The European Union, Japan and anybody else, except Canada.

Study U. S. Exports and you will find that several Latin American Nations are number one, and number two, and number three, as buyers of several American Agricultural and Industrial Products.

I am not diminishing the importance of Canada that is number one trade partner of the USA, but after Canada, Latin America is a very dynamic destination of American Products of every kind.

So Mitt Romney is telling lies, speaking a lot of Blather about his Future Friendship with Latin America.

If Mitt Romney loves Latin America so much and wants to export billions of dollars there, why one of his most importance objectives is to harass 12 million American Latinos into "Self-Deportation" ???

And Mitt Romney is in bed with the most prominent Racists : Jan Brewer, Kris Kobach, Pete Wilson, Russell Pearce, etc .....

Is that going to improve relations with Latin American buyers of U. S. Products ??

Mitt is a bloviating ignoramus !

And by the way, Wikipedia says that the words "Bloviation" and "Bloviating" originated in Ohio. I pray to God that Ohioans are not seduced by their own invention as used by Mitt Romney.

Vicente Duque


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