Big Labour worked hard to halt the U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement, claiming it threatened our economy and our workers. But a year since its passage, the pact has surpassed all expectations. Where’s the mea culpa?
If there was ever a reason to declare Big Labour’s credibility at zero on matters economic, the best example would be in its long, pathetic tocsins over free trade with Colombia.
Today, exactly a year since the pact went into effect, U.S. exports to Colombia have risen 13% while Colombia’s to the U.S. are up 3.4% — for a total of $28.5 billion in no-tariff trade. Net gains for both economies, in other words, but with the U.S. showing four times as many.
This lopsided result may well be because most Colombian goods already entered the U.S. tariff-free as part of preferences given in exchange for that country’s war on drugs. The Colombian peso has also strengthened along with the economy.
But for the U.S., the result has been sweet indeed. We have reclaimed wheat, soybean and soybean-meal markets that could have been lost to Canada had the pact not passed. And U.S. aircraft, textiles, chemicals, medical equipment and construction machinery exports have risen sharply to $3 billion, supporting thousands of American jobs.
In Colombia, meanwhile, tilapia and pineapple exports to the U.S. are rising, along with niche tropical products. In Los Angeles, Colombian cocoa has been spotted in Trader Joe’s, and Colombian cape gooseberries have been stocked at Whole Foods.
So much for labor’s ridiculous claims that Colombians would somehow take U.S. jobs, promote outsourcing and impoverish the middle class. All the agreement has done is put cash and goods into American pockets.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka called the pact “a destructive economic model,” and Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., claimed it “failed to promote American jobs and American values.”
Both also cited violence against local trade unions as a reason the deal mustn’t go through. But union violence has subsided more than 30% in the year since free trade was implemented. And according to Colombia’s Escuela Nacional Sindical, deaths of trade unionists stood at 18 in 2012, down from 29 in 2011.
So much for Big Labour’s warnings. Now how about an apology?
Source: Investor’s Business Daily