Colombia-United States Free Trade Agreement / Agreement should be ratified

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Position: Agreement should be ratified

This position addresses the topic Colombia-United States Free Trade Agreement.


For this position


Quotes-start.png By opposing passage of the agreement, they perversely punish Colombia by destroying jobs in America. In fact, they punish the very American workers whose interests they aim to represent. This makes no sense. Since the 1980s, Congress has given Colombia duty-free access to our markets. Failure to pass the agreement simply denies U.S. exporters the same duty-free access to Colombia enjoyed by our competitors, thereby costing American jobs. Quotes-end.png
From Sign the Colombia trade pact, by Carlos Gutierrez, John Veroneau (The Washington Times, 7 February 2011) (view)
Quotes-start.png "It's hard to understand what Mr. Obama is thinking about besides his loyalty to the AFL-CIO. But Colombia's plans are clear. It wants to trade with the U.S. But if it is rejected, it will simply buy and sell with the rest of the world." Quotes-end.png
From Obama's Trade Contortions, by Mary Anastasia O'Grady (The Wall Street Journal, 29 November 2010) (view)
Quotes-start.png "During the just-concluded campaign, Democrats and their allies launched an avalanche of simplistic ads attacking "outsourcing." Now that the Republicans are in the majority, all three trade agreements have better prospects - good news for the American companies and workers who would benefit from expanded exports, and for the American consumers who would benefit from more choices in the marketplace." Quotes-end.png
From Trading Up, by The Washington Post editorial board (The Washington Post, 6 November 2010) (view)
Quotes-start.png "The matter is urgent, because the global economic downturn is hitting Colombia hard now. With Colombia's joblessness hitting 10.8% and industrial output down more than 13% in November, it can't wait much longer. What's more, the absence of a free-trade deal has driven much of the country's trade to Venezuela, an economy that faces a massive collapse as falling oil prices, waste, corruption and Hugo Chavez's hostile investment climate take their course. Colombia's economy could go down down with it." Quotes-end.png
From Fatal Naivete On Free Trade, by Investor's Business Daily editorial board (Investor's Business Daily, 22 January 2009) (view)
Quotes-start.png "Since the start of the year, the U.S. economy has barely kept its head above water, growing a measly 0.9% in the first quarter. That was almost entirely due to U.S. exports. There's little doubt that a free-trade-phobic Congress could be hurting one of the few parts of the economy that has kept us out of recession." Quotes-end.png
From Breaking A Logjam?, by Investor's Business Daily editorial board (Investor's Business Daily, 10 June 2008) (view)
Quotes-start.png "Opening markets and lowering barriers for U.S. exports creates jobs, spurs innovation, and gives our economy a competitive edge. Consumers also see the benefits -- they get a greater variety of higher-quality goods at lower prices. Free-trade agreements (FTAs) -- including those now pending before Congress with Colombia, Panama and South Korea -- solidify our relationships with key allies and level the trade playing field by lowering export barriers to American businesses, workers and farmers." Quotes-end.png
From Keep America Open to Trade, by Carlos Gutierrez, Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Wall Street Journal, 12 May 2008) (view)
Quotes-start.png "One of President Bush’s most costly actions was his flat rejection of the Kyoto climate treaty; it symbolized a my-way-or-the-highway approach that bolstered anti-Americanism around the world. If the Colombia free-trade pact is rejected and the U.S. backs away from its commitment to expanding trade, that may be the Democrats’ equivalent of Kyoto, signaling a retreat from internationalism. It would be seen as the United States thumbing its nose at the world." Quotes-end.png
From Better Roses Than Cocaine, by Nicholas D. Kristof (The New York Times, 24 April 2008) (view)
Quotes-start.png "Still, in the hope that Ms. Pelosi might in fact schedule a vote, it may be worth examining once more the arguments against this tariff-slashing deal. Perhaps we should say "argument," because there is really only one left: namely, that Colombia is "the most dangerous place in the world to be a trade unionist" and that the government of President Álvaro Uribe is to blame." Quotes-end.png
From Colombia's Case, by The Washington Post editorial board (The Washington Post, 19 April 2008) (view)
Quotes-start.png "The Colombia pact passed in 2006 after all the normal legislative processes, including Congressional input, and the deal was sealed. But in 2007, Democrats said they weren't satisfied — so back to the drawing board, which forced Colombia to change provisions on labor and environmental rules. Colombia patiently went along to make the Democrats happy. Now, the revised pact still isn't good enough. New objections have arisen, along with Pelosi's new pork wish list." Quotes-end.png
From Stalling Free Trade Won't Work, by Investor's Business Daily editorial board (Investor's Business Daily, 14 April 2008) (view)
Quotes-start.png "The trade pact would produce clear benefits for American businesses and their workers. Most Colombian exports are exempt from United States’ tariffs. American exports, however, face high Colombian tariffs and would benefit as the so-called trade promotion agreement brought them down to zero. The deal also would strengthen the institutional bonds tying the United States to Colombia, one of America’s few allies in an important region that has become increasingly hostile to the United States’ interests." Quotes-end.png
From Time for the Colombian Trade Pact, by The New York Times editorial board (The New York Times, 12 April 2008) (view)
Quotes-start.png "The treaty - and the warmer relations it brings - has overwhelming advantages. Approval would show that Washington believes in supporting an ally ready to stand up to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Closer trade ties could cement gains made by Colombia's fragile democratic government. In an uncertain economic atmosphere, lower tariffs could lay the groundwork for a healthy recovery." Quotes-end.png
From Trade pandering, by San Francisco Chronicle editorial board (San Francisco Chronicle, 11 April 2008) (view)
Quotes-start.png "The assumption by the Democrats is that all were killed for union organizing. It is an assumption implied in reports they cite from groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. Those groups, however, rely on Colombian unions for their numbers, instead of collecting their own. The number of convictions now being won in the union's own cases reveals that perhaps one-fifth, and almost certainly less than half, of the killings had to do with unionism." Quotes-end.png
From The promise of a Colombia trade pact, by Edward Schumacher-Matos (The Boston Globe, 11 April 2008) (view)
Quotes-start.png "That political turf-staking, and the Democrats' decreasingly credible claims of a death-squad campaign against Colombia's trade unionists, constitutes all that's left of the case against the agreement. Economically, it should be a no-brainer -- especially at a time of rising U.S. joblessness." Quotes-end.png
From Drop Dead, Colombia, by The Washington Post editorial board (The Washington Post, 10 April 2008) (view)
Quotes-start.png "But any excuse will do. Yesterday Ms. Pelosi said the bill would harm "the economic concerns of America's working families." Yet over 90% of Colombian imports enter the U.S. duty-free, while the agreement would open the Colombian market to American goods that face tariffs as high as 35%." Quotes-end.png
From Pelosi's Bad Faith, by The Wall Street Journal editorial board (The Wall Street Journal, 10 April 2008) (view)
Quotes-start.png "Meanwhile, Hugo Chavez, the increasingly authoritarian, anti-American president of Venezuela, continues to support the murderous FARC. As Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently observed: "If the U.S. turns its back on its friends in Colombia, this will set back our cause far more than any Latin American dictator could hope to achieve."" Quotes-end.png
From Yes to free trade, by The Washington Times editorial board (The Washington Times, 10 April 2008) (view)
Quotes-start.png "Colombia would get nothing from it other than the permanent extension of the status quo. That's because most of its products already come into this country duty-free thanks to a decision two decades ago to promote legitimate businesses in an Andean region rife with cocaine. Most U.S. exporters to Colombia would see their tariffs, now ranging from 7% to 80%, slashed to zero." Quotes-end.png
From Pass the Colombia pact, by USA Today editorial board (USA Today, 9 April 2008) (view)
Quotes-start.png "Under pressure from human rights and labor organizations, Colombia has done what Democrats in Congress have urged: improved the country's dismal labor record. Certainly more progress must be made -- Colombia still leads the world in murders of union organizers -- but President Alvaro Uribe's government has reduced the number significantly and shown that it's on the right track." Quotes-end.png
From Approve pact with Colombia, by Los Angeles Times editorial board (Los Angeles Times, 8 April 2008) (view)
Quotes-start.png "Under the Andean Trade Preference Act, passed by a Democratic Congress is 1991, the United States imposes tariffs on only 8 percent of imports from Colombia. But more than 90 percent of U.S. exports to Colombia are subjected to tariffs, some as high as 35 percent. The trade agreement would make this "one-way free trade," which now primarily serves Colombia's interests, more mutually beneficial." Quotes-end.png
From Mark Penn's Transgression, by George F. Will (The Washington Post, 8 April 2008) (view)
Quotes-start.png "Indeed, Colombia, America's strongest ally in the region, is also Latin America's most remarkable success story. In six years, President Alvaro Uribe has turned a country beset by Communist rebels, drug cartels and paramilitary gangs into a reasonably stable democracy. The country's murder rate plummeted 40 percent from 2002 to 2006, while its economic growth rate has been consistently among the highest in the region. Free trade with America means a chance to cement those gains - something Colombia desperately needs." Quotes-end.png
From Democrats' real boss, by New York Post editorial board (New York Post, 8 April 2008) (view)
Quotes-start.png "Colombia is a functioning democracy. The fact that our friend remains imperfect, and that it still faces overwhelming challenges, should lead us not to withdraw our support, but to increase it – to help Colombia's legal and democratic institutions function more accountably, more effectively and more transparently. And that is exactly what this trade agreement would do." Quotes-end.png
From The Colombia Trade Stakes, by Condoleezza Rice (The Wall Street Journal, 7 April 2008) (view)
Quotes-start.png "There's no good reason not to pass the Colombia pact. Colombia is our best ally in the hemisphere and, coming up from a long war, has a sharply improving democracy and human rights record. "No nation has ever improved as this one has," drug czar John Walters said in a recent interview with IBD." Quotes-end.png
From Bush Raises Stakes On Free Trade, by Investor's Business Daily editorial board (Investor's Business Daily, 12 March 2008) (view)
Quotes-start.png "If Colombia were an insular, isolated, parochial state, it might have concluded that fighting terror outside its borders was not in its own best interests. But this state has shown it is not only willing but able to do its part in the global war on terror. The one small benefit it wants from us is Congress' passage of a free trade pact. Democrats are resisting it on scurrilous human rights and protectionist grounds. But isn't what Colombia has done for us enough? " Quotes-end.png
From Colombia Has Earned Its Trade Pact, by Investor's Business Daily editorial board (Investor's Business Daily, 11 March 2008) (view)
Quotes-start.png "Colombian President Álvaro Uribe is embracing greater economic and political freedom. He has bravely assisted the U.S fight against narco-traffickers, and he now wants to link his country more closely to America with a free-trade accord. As a strategic matter, to reject Colombia's offer now would tell everyone in Latin America that it is far more dangerous to trust America than it is to trash it." Quotes-end.png
From The Chávez Democrats, by The Wall Street Journal editorial board (The Wall Street Journal, 10 March 2008) (view)
Quotes-start.png "In short, while Chavez has wreaked economic ruin to drive military confrontation, Colombia has sped toward a prosperity that would only be enhanced by a free trade pact with the U.S. Denial of such a pact sends a strong signal that Congress has no interest in encouraging Colombia to continue on its positive path. Colombia's refusal to get into a fight with Chavez signals a strong preference for peace through trade and development. If Congress won't approve Colombia's free trade pact after such a demonstration of courage under fire, then it's no better than Chavez." Quotes-end.png
From Colombia Gives Free Trade A Chance, by Investor's Business Daily editorial board (Investor's Business Daily, 5 March 2008) (view)
Quotes-start.png "But as Democrats cry crocodile tears about labor unions and wax about their human-rights sensitivities as their excuse to deny Colombia free trade, they're leaving out one group of interests: Colombia's ordinary people. In polls, they have shown they favor free trade by an 80% margin with no way of showing it other than by standing at freeway off-ramps and holding up their arms. They're among the 44 million people who would be punished by Congress' stone-hearted refusal to permit U.S.-Colombia free trade." Quotes-end.png
From Where Free Trade Is Popular, by Monica Showalter (Investor's Business Daily, 28 January 2008) (view)
Quotes-start.png "Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has been America's closest friend in South America ever since he inherited his fractured, violence-plagued country five years ago. And he's worked nothing short of a miracle, imposing law and order in regions once overrun with Chavez-backed Communist rebels, powerful drug cartels and paramilitary gangs. Democrats in Congress, however, are holding up a free-trade bill that would help Columbia get on its feet. " Quotes-end.png
From Slapping our Latin allies, by New York Post editorial board (New York Post, 10 December 2007) (view)
Quotes-start.png "That is why the pending trade pact with Colombia is just as critical. A U.S. ally with the second-biggest population in South America and the third-biggest economy, it straddles two oceans and has implemented the same economic reforms in preparation for free trade as Peru. Its GDP is forecast to surge 7.8% in 2007. Also like Peru, it has endured a barbaric Marxist terror war and is on the road to ending it. To pass a pact for Peru while leaving out Colombia, President Bush noted Tuesday, would insult an ally." Quotes-end.png
From Peru Is In, Now Where's Colombia?, by Investor's Business Daily editorial board (Investor's Business Daily, 4 December 2007) (view)
Quotes-start.png "Third, the terms of the agreement would further decrease unemployment by 2 percent -- eliminating potential threats posed by additional fighters who are demobilized. Hunger is an enemy that has produced thousands of illegal drug cultivators, but the agreement would help ensure that they have legal, productive employment." Quotes-end.png
From Keeping Faith With Colombia, by Barry McCaffrey (The Washington Post, 20 November 2007) (view)
Quotes-start.png "As a political issue, free trade often suffers its share of partisan and industry-specific bashing. As an economic issue, no other force is more responsible for raising global prosperity in recent decades than the elimination of protective barriers and the creation of a more efficient system of trade. And few countries have benefited more than the United States." Quotes-end.png
From Congress finally gets on free trade track, by San Antonio Express-News editorial board (San Antonio Express-News, 14 November 2007) (view)
Quotes-start.png "Trade has helped America transform itself into a middle-class service economy. Yes, the country's lost a net 3.3 million manufacturing jobs in the past decade - but it's added a net 11.6 million jobs in service and other sectors where average wages are higher than in manufacturing. Most of these new jobs are in better-paying categories, like professional and business services, finance and education and health services." Quotes-end.png
From The Truth on Trade, by Daniel Griswold (New York Post, 7 November 2007) (view)
Quotes-start.png "The danger for the United States is that if it abandons these Latin advocates of open markets, the beneficiaries will be radical supporters of Venezuela's Chávez. Already Chávez is pumping an estimated $2 billion in discounted oil to poor Latin American countries. The United States, by contrast, is providing just $1.3 billion in development assistance." Quotes-end.png
From The Democrats Dither on Trade, by David Ignatius (The Washington Post, 5 August 2007) (view)
Quotes-start.png "Good idea, right? Not to Democrats, who said Friday that they'll oppose the pact on human rights grounds until they "see concrete evidence of sustained results on the ground in Colombia." What Colombians think about their president and his policies is apparently meaningless. Mr. Uribe replied that he isn't interested in "a relationship wherein the U.S. is master and Colombia a slave republic"; good for him." Quotes-end.png
From Trade Double-Cross, by The Wall Street Journal editorial board (The Wall Street Journal, 5 July 2007) (view)
Quotes-start.png "The deal would encourage investment and create jobs and opportunities for Colombians, including the more than 30,000 paramilitary fighters Uribe persuaded to give up their guns last year. It would help U.S. firms who export to Colombia. Denying Colombia duty-free access to U.S. markets -- and denying American exporters such access to Colombian markets -- wouldn't improve human rights for the 44 million Colombians." Quotes-end.png
From Trading with Colombia, by Chicago Tribune editorial board (Chicago Tribune, 23 June 2007) (view)
Quotes-start.png "All of this is a pity. Just when the falling dollar is boosting American exports, a tit-for-tat trade war, closing markets to US goods, is the last thing a slowing American economy needs." Quotes-end.png
From The end of free trade as we know it, by Irwin Stelzer (The Times, 20 May 2007) (view)
Quotes-start.png "Critics contend the government of President Álvaro Uribe hasn't done enough under these circumstances to protect human rights. What's certain is that he'll be able to do far less if his government is abandoned by the United States. The United States has better leverage over labor conditions, environmental issues and human rights in Latin America with these free trade agreements in place than without them. " Quotes-end.png
From Don't turn U.S. back on hemispheric allies, by San Antonio Express-News editorial board (San Antonio Express-News, 17 May 2007) (view)
Quotes-start.png "For these allies, it's a worthy affirmation of their years of hard work developing their economies in honest terms. It also will strengthen their democracies, as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told Congress Thursday. That in turn will lessen the appeal of tinpot dictators like Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, who offer poor countries goodies in lieu of free trade." Quotes-end.png
From Free Trade Sunlight, by Investor's Business Daily editorial board (Investor's Business Daily, 11 May 2007) (view)
Quotes-start.png "Anti-trade groups argue, as always, that they are trying to protect workers, not defeat trade pacts. In fact, they would encumber the deals with protections that are impractical in developing countries facing myriad economic and political challenges." Quotes-end.png
From New push for 'fair trade' puts U.S. economy at risk, by USA Today editorial board (USA Today, 12 December 2006) (view)
Quotes-start.png "Some trade bills are so obviously beneficial and unobjectionable that there's no excuse for letting them languish. This is the case with a raft of measures that would extend trade preferences for poor countries -- preferences due to expire at the end of the year." Quotes-end.png
From Can't Be Bothered, by The Washington Post editorial board (The Washington Post, 5 December 2006) (view)
Quotes-start.png "A remarkable statistic: Every three months, 7 million to 8 million U.S. jobs disappear and roughly an equal or greater number are created. Trade is a relatively minor factor in job loss. It is, however, an easy scapegoat." Quotes-end.png
From 'Fair Trade' Foolishness, by Robert J. Samuelson (The Washington Post, 30 November 2006) (view)
Quotes-start.png "In short, trade helps people while protectionism hurts them. Imports give people a wider choice of goods, often at lower prices; protectionism helps local industries--steel companies in the Bush protectionism case--maintain higher prices at the expense of broad social and economic prosperity." Quotes-end.png
From Protection Racket, by Pete du Pont (The Wall Street Journal, 22 November 2006) (view)
Quotes-start.png "If Democrats want to help American workers, there are many things they could do: Make health insurance and pensions more portable, promote competition for failing public schools, reduce the cost of litigation that drives companies overseas. Trade protection, however, will be an economic and political loser." Quotes-end.png
From Protectionist Party?, by The Wall Street Journal editorial board (The Wall Street Journal, 18 November 2006) (view)
Quotes-start.png "U.S. trade and investment in the Andean region create jobs that offer alternatives to growing coca and exporting narcotics to the United States. Such jobs can help counter the anti-capitalist pull of Venezuela's Hugo Chávez and his partners. If Congress turns away from free trade, U.S. industry will lose ground in the region to China and other Southeast Asian nations." Quotes-end.png
From Congress, priorities and power shifts, by The Miami Herald editorial board (The Miami Herald, 16 November 2006) (view)

Against this position


Quotes-start.png "If workers in a country with a 55% poverty rate cannot be in a union without fear of death, how can they speak up for their economic freedom? How can they benefit from a free trade agreement? That's why the AFL-CIO is opposing President Bush's Colombia free trade agreement. If we are serious about protecting workers' rights, we cannot ignore targeted murders and a climate of terror for unionists. " Quotes-end.png
From 'A climate of terror', by John Sweeney (USA Today, 9 April 2008) (view)
Quotes-start.png "Thirty nine trade unionists were murdered in Colombia in 2007, and they are being killed at a rate of over one per week this year. Of the more than 2,500 murders in that nation since 1986, only 68 cases -- around 3 percent -- have resulted in convictions. However, many of these criminals were convicted in absentia -- meaning they may still be at large and continuing to terrorize workers. Yet inexplicably, President Bush and some Members of Congress want to reward Colombia with a free trade agreement. Not on our watch." Quotes-end.png
From Colombia Free Trade Agreement: A Bad Deal for Everyone Involved, by Phil Hare, Mike Michaud (The Huffington Post, 8 April 2008) (view)
Quotes-start.png "The upshot: the so-called "free trade" deal would likely displace hundreds of thousands of poor rural Colombians from their lands, sending them into far deeper economic despair--and forcing many of them to work for the very groups that violently displaced them from their lands. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs conducted a study of the effects of the 1990s economic "liberalization" and concluded that such a move led to a 35 per cent drop in employment." Quotes-end.png
From U.S. "Free Trade": Death, Drugs and Despair in Colombia, by Jonathan Tasini (The Huffington Post, 22 February 2007) (view)

Mixed on this position


Quotes-start.png "At home, the trade pacts would provide opportunities for American exporters and help create jobs. In Latin America, the pacts would contribute to economic growth, shake off dependence on the narcotics trade and cement relationships in a region where Washington’s influence is increasingly trumped by the well-oiled diplomacy of Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez." Quotes-end.png
From Democrats Talk Sense to Democrats, by The New York Times editorial board (The New York Times, 8 October 2007) (view)
Quotes-start.png "There is evidence of conditions-based support from Congress leading to positive changes in Colombia. For example, the Leahy law on U.S. military aid, which prohibits U.S. security assistance to any foreign military unit credibly suspected of gross violations of human rights, has been an important tool in decreasing human rights abuses by Colombian military and police units." Quotes-end.png
From The Right Trade Deals With Latin America, by Tom Daschle (The Washington Post, 25 June 2007) (view)
Quotes-start.png "Before Congress approves the Colombia trade agreement, the Uribe government must expand its investigative efforts, improve its conviction rate and send a clear message that this form of terrorism will no longer be tolerated. That need not take long, particularly if Washington is prepared to provide some of the resources Colombian justice officials will need. A special unit devoted to prosecuting labor murders began operations this year and is already preparing indictments." Quotes-end.png
From Getting to a Colombia Trade Deal, by The New York Times editorial board (The New York Times, 29 May 2007) (view)