Unfortunately, Congress has scuttled a vote on the first of the three FTAs, the Colombia agreement. Who gets hurt by this? American workers. Why? Because open trade provides more markets for the products they make, and because Congress has already given Colombian exporters duty-free access to the American market for more than 16 years. In the 538 days since the agreement was finalized, American exports have faced more than $1 billion in Colombian tariffs. All the FTA with Colombia does is provide American goods the same access Congress already gives Colombia.
Yet in the global trading system, America isn’t just a buyer and seller, we’re a huge investment magnet. That giant cash register sound you’re hearing is the nearly $200 billion pumped into U.S. businesses from abroad in 2006 alone. Foreign-owned companies operating in the U.S. employ more than five million Americans, and a third of foreign direct investment is in the manufacturing sector. For the 8,000 Hitachi employees here in California, some of whom we will visit today, and the other 8,000 spread across the U.S., foreign investment is a no-brainer.