1,733 Days and Counting. The Biggest Trade Barrier to the 3 Free Trade Agreements? Barack Obama
It's now been 1,733 days since the U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement was signed on November 22, 2006, and during that time almost $4 billion of tarrifs have been imposed on U.S. exports to Colombia.
It's now been 570 days since President Obama's first State of the Union address on January 27, 2010, where he outlined his plan to help U.S. businesses double exports over the next five years and in the process add two million American jobs. Further, Obama warned that “If America sits on the sidelines while other nations sign trade deals, we will lose the chance to create jobs on our shores. We have to seek new markets aggressively, just as our competitors are."
Well, that's exactly what’s happening , but it’s not the good part about doubling exports and adding U.S. jobs, it’s the bad part about the U.S. sitting on the sidelines while Colombia and Panama negotiate free trade agreements (FTAs) with the European Union and Canada, and while Korea finalizes an FTA with the European Union. Meanwhile, America’s FTAs with Colombia, South Korea and Panama, all signed back in 2006 or 2007, are now languishing into their fourth or fifth year awaiting Congressional approval.
What makes those delays especially inexcusable is the fact that the main beneficiaries of the stalled free trade agreements with Colombia and Panama would actually be American companies and workers, because the agreements would open up those markets to U.S. exports by eliminating the stiff tariffs currently imposed on our products (while 90 percent of Colombian and Panamanian imports currently enter the U.S. duty-free).
Here's the latest on the FTAs from today's WSJ: