Trade Deals

I watched a U.S. Trade mission to Colombia a few days ago on C-Span.

You can watch it by clicking the link that says Vignette on U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement. The video will remain up on C-Span for another week or two.

The roughly half-hour I watched of the show involved U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab and nine members of the U.S. House of Representatives touring Medellin, Colombia and meeting with various officials.

The photo above is of Medellin where 2.4 million people live within the city and 3.2 million people live in outlying areas. Here is a brief history of the city.

My friends at the AFL-CIO oppose this agreement. They say union workers are routinely killed in Colombia and the deal will result in lost American jobs.

This blog, Plan Colombia and Beyond, is also opposed to this agreement on the grounds of human rights.

I have little doubt that the right-wing government of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe is on the wrong side of many basic human rights questions.

Here are arguments for the pact from a government web-page dedicated to trade agreements.

Currently, the deal is stuck in a disagreement between the Democratic House and President Bush.

Of the nine House members on the trip, there were seven Republicans and two Democrats.

I was interested in the presence of the two Democratic House members in the trade delegation. The two members were Bob Etheridge of North Carolina and Hank Johnson of Georgia. (more…)