Colombia is the World's #1 Stock Market; Maybe It's Time for Obama to Push the U.S.- Colombia FTA
The chart above shows the MSCI Colombia Stock Market Index, monthly back to 1993 (data here). Over almost every time horizon up to ten years, the returns for the Colombia stock market are the highest in the world:
Five-Year: 25.8% (second to Indonesia's at 27.6%)
It's now been 1,382 days since the U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement (FTA) was signed in 2007, and it is now languishing into its fourth year awaiting Congressional approval. The Latin American Trade Coalition estimates that almost $3 billion in tariffs have been imposed on U.S. exports since the FTA was signed. Especially now that Colombia's stock market is booming, the failure to pass the Colombian FTA is especially inexcusable because it means that U.S. exporters are missing out on a golden opportunity to gain from Colombia's thriving economy.
The Colombian FTA has support from 1,200 American companies, associations, farm and ranch groups, and chambers of commerce, as well as support from the editorial boards of almost every major U.S. newspaper including the Wall Street Journal, L.A. Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald, Chicago Tribune, Detroit News, and even the New York Times, which wrote in 2008, “We don't say it all that often, but President Bush is right: Congress should pass the Colombian free-trade agreement now. We believe that the trade pact would be good for America's economy and workers.”
With incredible export opportunities awaiting U.S. manufacturers in booming, emerging markets like Colombia, with the huge potential to create much-needed jobs for America’s workers, and with universal support from almost every sector of the economy, what could possibly be holding up the FTAs with Panama, Colombia and Korea? Apparently just one group: U.S. labor unions and their Democratic enablers in the White House and Congress.
If Obama was really serious about supporting free trade, doubling U.S. exports, creating jobs and stimulating the economy, he could easily and costlessly accomplish all four by pushing Congress to approve the signed FTAs with Colombia, Panama and Korea.