The larger story out of Speaker Nancy’s Pelosi’s decision to kill the Colombia Free Trade Agreement is not that she did it, but that how she did it guts more than three decades of precedent and destroys U.S. credibility on free trade. That said, there is still a strong factual basis to make for the deal. The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce reminds us:
Currently, almost all of Colombian exports enter the U.S. duty-free. The deal, if Congress approves, would eliminate tariffs on more than 80% of U.S. exports of industrial and consumer goods. Non-agricultural exports currently receive a 35% tariff, while agricultural exports face even higher numbers. Ultimately, the U.S. economy would see much-needed growth through the lowering of tariffs and increase of capital investments, making our country more competitive in the global market.
This trade agreement is also crucial to reclaiming American diplomatic influence in Latin America. Three years after passage of a trade agreement with Chile, their per capita income rose by 83% over this same period, and unemployment fell from 8.1% in 2003 to 6% at the end of 2006.