Richmond Times-Dispatch | 8/24/2009 12:00:00 AM
Free Trade: Helping Allies
Aug 24--Throughout the presidential campaign, candidate Barack Obama told voters that he would work to mend America's frayed relationships with our allies. He argued that the administration of George W. Bush had pursued a unilateral, arrogant foreign policy that alienated U.S. allies from Europe to Latin America.
For many nations, trade is the dominant aspect of their relations with the U.S. They know that if they want to be fully incorporated into the global economy, they must be able to trade with the world's wealthiest market. Unfortunately, the Obama administration has largely ignored the interests of these countries.
Colombia may be the most glaring example. A staunch ally of the U.S. in a region increasingly filled with anti-American despots like Hugo Chavez, the nation has been eager to ensure increased trade with us for years to come. A free trade agreement was negotiated and finished two years ago. Sadly, the plan has languished in Congress ever since, as Democratic leaders -- in yet another sop to short-sighted union bosses -- have refused to bring it to a vote. The Colombian government, which invested considerable political capital in the deal, has been left holding a -- so far-- empty bag.
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