Colombia: An Opportunity for Lasting Success

May 8, 2008
Preparing Roses in Colombia

About the Author: Charles S. Shapiro serves as the Senior Coordinator of the State Department’s Western Hemisphere Affairs Free Trade Task Force.Policy Podcast: Colombia Free Trade | VIEW VIDEO

Throughout the hemisphere, democratic nations are looking to create conditions for sustained economic growth. In today’s world of globalization, countries are not looking inward but rather outward to achieve growth and prosperity. Our friends in Latin America see free trade agreements as the way to accomplish this goal. As we partner with other nations to remove trade barriers, no country wants to strengthen its ties with us more than Colombia.

The cup of Colombian coffee that I had this morning, the roses that I’m going to send to my mother for Mother’s Day along with the box of chocolates all come from Colombia into the United States, tariff free. American exporters on the other hand, pay high tariffs to send products such as machinery and fertilizers to Colombia that help produce these goods. Every day that we wait to pass the Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (CTPA) is a day that American farmers, businesses and workers lose out. Free trade will benefit both of us.

The CTPA is more than just smart economics. I invite subscribers of Dipnote to read Colombia: An Opportunity for Lasting Success. This fact sheet is excellent reading for understanding the importance of a trade agreement with Colombia.



Ronald B.
New York, USA
May 9, 2008

Ronald in New York writes:

Reality Check:

U.S. purchases of Colombian cocaine wreaked havoc with the nation's and regions political, economic and social life for decades. According to experts from Bogota, Medellin, and Baranquilla, payments in small arms (after cash ran out) fueled extreme violence in a culture known for peaceful millenia. Free Trade is needed; Good global governance is the key.

May 10, 2008

Nicholas in Spain writes:

The best possible, sensible policy that Colombia really needs, Mr. Facilitators at the State Dept., is an end to your War on Drugs cancer. Public health issues have only been criminalized in this country because of its ignorance, and turned into a vile, hypocritical business for the good old boys, er, I mean the law enforcement community. (with all its ancillary benefits to other, mostly white, niche social and economic groups and for taking advantage of other countries, uh, I mean foreign policy)

California, USA
May 13, 2008

Sasha in California writes:

Re: Drugs - If there was no demand - there would be no need to supply, so regarding the drug issue, its spills into domestic policy and will not be solved until the U.S. gets the "demand" under control.

Re: Human Rights - How can some be so critical and concerned about Colombia's human rights record, when we do business regularly with countries with similar records...and when we have "human rights" issues right here at home...It doesnt make it right, but lets be "real"...its all politics...kind of crazy how we turn our head for some countries and get all self righteous when dealing with others...

Re: Other - Seems to me that we would WANT to do whats in the best interest for the people here at home, and for our companies and workers...Free Trade is necessary...and it doesnt make sense to trade with a country if we are not going to benefit from it...but maybe thats just me...Life is all about who gets what, how much, and how to obtain it...we should look out for ourselves and our workers and let Colombia work out thier countries kinks - and if we feel the need - help them along the way, which we have done...

Tennessee, USA
May 16, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

The entire productive aspect of South American relations is completely due to the efforts of George H. Bush and his son GW for their sincere efforts of rewarding those who are hold to higher standards for their citizen and going against those who do not.

It is a shame that American history is covered with not availing credit where it is due, regardless of political beliefs. I think we need to review why this has been such a success and perhaps apply the methodology more vigorously to our other developing nations?but I have to admit, I do believe that much of the success still stems from the fact that South America was and still is a Christian based populace.

As Nixon said - No matter how dirty they get all week long, they put a clean shirt on Sundays.


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