Or, as Michael Scott would say, “win/win/win.”
The Los Angeles Times had a good editorial this week about the Columbia Free Trade Agreement. As the Times points out, the agreement has myriad benefits to both countries:
The pact would balance and normalize a trade relationship that is now one-way. Colombia has almost unfettered access to U.S. markets — 91% of its goods enter duty free — but U.S. products face tariffs of up to 35%. Each Caterpillar truck sold in Colombia, for example, is taxed more than $200,000. This is a hindrance to prosperity for both countries. Currently, about 9,000 U.S. businesses export to Colombia, and were this deal passed, that number would skyrocket.
For Colombia, our closest ally in South America, the agreement not only has clear economic benefits but also powerful political ramifications. President Alvaro Uribe enjoys enormous popular approval at home for his successful offensive against drug-trafficking rebels. But he has staked a measure of his political capital on his relationship with the United States, which is viewed with distrust and even animosity in parts of the Andean region. Ratifying the pact would demonstrate to neighboring countries that alliance with the U.S. means more than just carrying out U.S. drug policy.