Approving the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement

March 20, 2008 - 5 Comments

WASHINGTON, DC — Last week, President Bush announced that his Administration will send the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) implementing legislation to the Congress just after the congressional Easter Recess. There are commercially and politically meaningful reasons to pass this legislation, I’m almost breathless thinking about it (I’m also six months pregnant so maybe that has something to do with it, too):- Goods from Colombia already enter the United States duty-free, so implementation of this agreement will provide open market access for U.S. goods and services being exported to Colombia. High-tech equipment currently encounters a 10% import duty upon entry to Colombia, but as soon as the bilateral agreement goes into effect, Colombia will eliminate import duties on ICT products via adoption of the WTO Information Technology Agreement.- The Uribe government is pro-democracy and anti-crime, having reduced overall homicides by 40% between 2002-2007 and those among union members 87% in the same period. Some members of the U.S. Congress have used violence against unions as justification to oppose passage of the FTA. My question is: How will rejection of the FTA help further decrease union violence in Colombia? I would argue that walking away from further economic engagement with Colombia would actually deepen the economic and social woes of a nation struggling to reform and open up.- It’s also important for United States policymakers and lawmakers to continue their support for an open trade policy, especially as the economy slows. Exports from the U.S. are a bright spot in an otherwise bleak economic picture. Net exports added 1.4 percentage points to economic growth in the latter-half of 2007, more than making up for the 0.7 percentage point subtracted by the decline in residential construction. Lawmakers should embrace a policy mechanism that would help the U.S. economy grow further and help American companies compete internationally.Approval of the U.S.-Colombia FTA presents an opportunity for American lawmakers to enhance the competitiveness of American IT companies internationally, embrace an important ally against violence and extremism in the region, and promote U.S. economic growth.

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  1. Reply to maybob, I disagree with you. Cisco is well within its rights to help push the FTA approval.

  2. There is another more urgent reason for approving the FTA with Colombia: Hugo Chavez. Chavez has relentlessly attacked Colombia’s government because it is an obstacle to his expansionist goals. Thus he openly supports the FARC’s political program, secretly supports its armed struggle, and repeatedly threatens to freeze all trade with Colombia (5 billion/yr). An FTA would send a strong signal that Colombia need not be so dependant on its fickle neighbor. Furthermore, Uribe is the real democratic deal. He has over 80% popular support for his program of democratic security.”””^0^1^^^0^0
    10329^5295^Wyatt Ditzler^^^^2008-05-22 19:33:16^2008-05-22 19:33:16^It is good to see that common sense is beginning to enter into the debate of protecting children online.When societies begin to see that education and parental interaction may be the best source of protecting children, we will all be better off.^0^1^^^0^0
    10330^5298^David R^^^^2008-10-26 22:06:44^2008-10-26 22:06:44^Skip – it’s great to see Cisco’s AR team is now blogging. Wishing you lots of success!^0^1^^^0^0
    10331^5298^David Yedwab^^^^2008-10-26 22:06:44^2008-10-26 22:06:44^Skip,After seeing the video blog of you with Blair and Ron I am really excited to see/hear/collaborate on how you are addressing/responding to the gauntlet laid down by Microsoft — software vs. network as the platform. Look forward to lively debate over what may be the issue of Web 3.0 …^0^1^^^0^0
    11897^6388^Todd Edwards^^^^2008-11-24 19:39:36^2008-11-24 19:39:36^Ditto comment by BH. Cisco has, temporariliy I hope, cutoff prospective buyers from access to PostPath product information.^0^1^^^0^0
    10333^5299^john simonds^^^^2008-10-26 22:06:44^2008-10-26 22:06:44^Skip, we face the same issues for our big analyst event. You can contact me to hear what we face and how we get things done..^0^1^^^0^0
    10334^5299^vinnie mirchandani^^^^2008-10-26 22:06:44^2008-10-26 22:06:44^”Skip, from an old Gartner colleague…good to hear John’s views…sound like he realizes the influence game has changed in the last few years. As a fellow blogger clearly I believe blogs have some influence now. But CIOs are relying more and more on each other (I run a firm which works with CIOs)…somebody sent me this quote a few months ago In the 1970’s when CIO’s wanted to know what to buy, they asked IBM.In the 1980’s when CIO’s wanted to know what to buy, they asked Andersen Consulting.In the 1990’s when CIO’s wanted to know what to buy, they asked Gartner.In the 2000’s when CIO’s want to know what to buy, they ask each other.””Good luck with your blog…”

  3. Wow! Hooray for the USA!Cisco should stick to what it knows (and apparently, that does not include public policy, which is odd since it provides support and backing to many progressive non-profits – such as mine – that oppose the Colombia and other FTA agreements).

  4. Excellent commentary. I fully agree with it. Well done.

  5. There is no need for this agreement. We will be better off with UTF for the Americas.