We believe that the trade pact would be good for America’s economy and workers. Rejecting it would send a dismal message to allies the world over that the United States is an unreliable partner and, despite all that it preaches, does not really believe in opening markets to trade. There is no more time to waste. If the lame-duck Congress does not approve the trade pact this year, prospects would dim considerably since it would lose the cover of the rule (formerly known as fast track) that provides for an up-or-down, no-amendment vote.
Because of trade preferences granted as part of the war on drugs, most Colombian exports already are exempt from United States tariffs. The new agreement would benefit American companies that now have to pay high tariffs on exports to Colombia.
It also would strengthen bonds with an important ally in a volatile corner of South America — that also is the main source of cocaine shipped into this country and where the United States has very few friends these days.
In neighboring Venezuela, President Hugo Chávez spouts fierce anti-American rhetoric to distract attention from his autocratic policies. Last month, Bolivia expelled the United States ambassador and accused Drug Enforcement Administration agents of conspiring against his government. Ecuador has refused to renew a lease on an airbase used by American counternarcotics flights in the coastal city of Manta.
For the first time in a long time, the NYT has come up with a position that I share.
Prior posts on Colombia here.