The world is mired in insurgencies, with the rise of ISIS in the Middle East, the persistence of Russian-backed rebels in Ukraine, and the continuing attacks of Boko Haram and Al Shabab in Africa. But at least one seemingly intractable guerrilla war — Latin America’s longest — may be coming to an end. Colombia is poised to reach a negotiated end after 50 years of fighting against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the Marxist-Leninist insurgent group known by the acronym FARC. Laudable on their own terms, these talks also shed light on the social changes and negotiating strategies it might take to end other civil wars around the world.
It looks like Juan Valdez, symbol of the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia, will have to make room for 20-somethings in green aprons with Starbucks opening in Colombia this month. The first of 50 planned locations in the South American country, it is a sign of a booming middle class in a nation on the rise. Oil production has nearly doubled over the past decade, and the economy has maintained consistent growth.
Shortly before midnight on May 14th a planeload of freshly cut roses, carnations and lilies took off from Bogotá and headed for Miami. By the time it landed a free-trade agreement had come into effect, allowing the flowers, and thousands of other Colombian products, tariff-free entry into the American market.
Trade: Six years after it was signed, the U.S.-Colombia free-trade agreement took effect Tuesday, giving our economy a shot in the arm. Tell us again why this pact was a bad thing? … With the U.S.-Colombia free trade pact going into force Tuesday, the U.S. stands to gain $1.1 billion in new sales to Colombia, meaning plenty of demand for Long Beach. In anticipation, U.S. trade with Colombia increased 19% last year alone.
The United States' engagement in the Americas is strategic and forward thinking, said U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman. The review process for implementing the Colombia Free Trade Agreement is advancing well and is already having a positive effect on the business climate of this country.
News out of Washington, D.C., isn't always good for farmers, but a couple of developments earlier this month actually will make life easier for Yakima Valley growers and the people who depend on them for jobs. Both were long in coming. On Oct. 12, Congress ended a four-year drought in approving new trade partnerships as it ratified free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. Two days later, a Mexican trucking firm received a permit to deliver goods inside the United States.
The new pact, and those with our Latin American friends, help Louisiana as much or more than any other state. Louisiana is home to five of the nation’s largest ports and has both petrochemical and agricultural products that can be sold in international markets. U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said the agreement with Colombia helps open markets there for soybeans as well as chemical products.
The general momentum behind the bills is the opening of increased trade opportunities - exports from all the states. The free trade agreements were supported by several Mississippi industry and manufacturing groups, including farm interests eager for broader export markets. The Senate voted late Wednesday and the House earlier in the day by decisive margins.
The bipartisan passage this week of the Colombia Free Trade Agreement is important both to the nation and to the economic growth in the Salinas Valley. The agreement will open up new markets for locally grown produce. And while it will also open up competition from Colombian products, we cannot shy away from global commerce.
When Congress, after five years of dithering and bickering, finally approved trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia, the votes weren’t close. Which left one to ask the obvious question: Why did this take so long?
Forecasts for the benefits of the three free-trade agreements adopted by Congress vary widely, but the long-dormant deals create something fundamental to all success: opportunity. Politicians are the most optimistic about the potential for the agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia. Economists are more restrained, but no sales are made or jobs created without market access.
Yet Wednesday night, the GOP carried the three free-trade agreements through Congress that the President wanted and that will help growth, business expansion and hiring….Mr. Obama yesterday called the deals a "major win for American workers and businesses," and he's right about the economic benefits of expanding world-wide markets—especially the South Korea pact, which is the largest expansion of trade since Nafta in 1993.
After years of partisan wrangling that has blocked Congress from taking major steps to boost the flagging economy, Republicans and Democrats finally found something they could agree on last week when they approved long-stalled free-trade agreements with Panama, South Korea and Colombia.
It was an occasion of bipartisan agreement for the Arkansas delegation when all six members voted for three free-trade agreements earlier this week. The agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama could boost American exports by more than $13 billion a year and create more than a quarter of a million jobs, according to Rep. Mike Ross, D-Prescott, in a Stephens Washington Bureau report in Thursday's edition.
Three new free-trade agreements are a blast of fresh air for America's oxygen-starved economy. And they're a refreshing sign that bipartisanship is still possible in Washington. The deals with South Korea, Colombia and Panama are expected to increase U.S. exports by $13 billion a year, supporting tens of thousands of jobs. Throughout history, trade has driven prosperity. That's why, from the earliest days of civilization, people have trekked across deserts and gone to sea in tiny vessels.
Under two Presidents, one from each party, it took almost five years to get three important free trade agreements through Congress. Pathetic. The pacts with South Korea, Colombia and Panama should have been gimmes. Their tortured history highlights the destructive bipartisan paralysis that rules Capitol Hill.
Few of us think very much about foreign trade. But opening foreign markets to U.S. goods is nevertheless important to job creation and economic growth in our country. That's why Tennessee Sens. Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander were among those who voted this week for free trade agreements between the United States and South Korea, Colombia and Panama.
Approval this week of free trade agreements with Colombia, South Korea and Panama shows that indeed, President Barack Obama and Republicans in Congress can get along every now and then. The votes Wednesday in the House and Senate had been a long time coming. The agreements were signed more than three years ago by George W. Bush, but Obama hadn't sent them to Congress for approval. This foot-dragging rankled Republicans, particularly in the House, who wanted to see these beneficial trade deals put into place while Obama pushed labor union concerns.
By passing the long-pending free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama this week, Congress took the first small steps toward improving the U.S. economic predicament. American agricultural exports are likely to be the largest beneficiaries, but various service sectors would also see a boost.
The main change under the Colombia pact is to let U.S. goods enter the Andean nation tariff-free, since existing law already gave Colombia periodically renewable free access to U.S. markets. And making the mutual free flow permanent rewards and bolsters a democratic partner that has stood with the United States against drugs, terrorism and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. Free trade with Colombia and Panama, added to existing free trade with Chile, Peru, Mexico and Central America, creates a near-seamless partnership from Tierra del Fuego to Tijuana.
Another answer is to fight back, as Congress also has just done. Specifically, passing trade pacts with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. Trade pacts open other countries' markets to our products. For example, Delaware's poultry exports to South Korea are expected to increase by more than a $1 million a year. All three countries will see more of our chemicals and plastics as well as financial and insurance services.
The biggest free-trade pacts since NAFTA were passed by the House Wednesday night, with the Senate likely to follow. As a result, America will reap 250,000 jobs and $13 billion in exports. Where are the celebrations? The strangest aspect of the passage of free trade treaties with Colombia, South Korea and Panama, with final votes taken after five long years, is the disconnect between the big economic gains expected for the U.S., and the reticence of congressional Democrats and the White House, both of which finally got something right on the economy.
Washington is finally working together to do something good for the economy. It's approving three long-stalled free trade deals that will boost exports and create jobs…. The deals with South Korea, Colombia and Panama also should be a big win for Wisconsin farmers, service providers and innovators who will gain access to more customers.
Trade is good for the economy and for employment. It opens new markets for businesses and allows access to cheaper, often better products from abroad. But it also has a dark side for workers displaced by foreign competition. So it is good to hear that Congressional Republicans and the White House have finally reached an agreement to pass both the long-delayed trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama and an expanded package of benefits for displaced workers. We hope this rare moment of cooperation — and the deal — will hold.
America’s slow-growth economy can use all the help it canget. The president and Congress must lend a hand by creating conditions where businesses and agriculture can flourish. The approval of free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama would do just that for American farmers and manufacturers…. The agreements have the goal of reducing or eliminating tariffs charged by South Korea, Colombia and Panama that increase the prices of U.S. products in those countries, making them less competitive compared with products from other nations that already have trade accords.
If, as expected, the deals go through this week, Florida will be one of the biggest winners. The U.S. International Trade Commission estimates that the trade deals will expand U.S. exports by $12 billion. Florida, the nation's fourth-largest exporting state, will get a substantial share of that business and the estimated 70,000 jobs it will create nationwide. Florida citrus growers andcattle ranchers stand to benefit from the opening of new markets in South Korea. And many small businesses in the state hope to take advantage of theincreased trade, especially with Colombia.
Approval of these important agreements can't come soon enough. Free trade with the nation's key allies is a necessary ingredient for full economic recovery. While the United States has dithered on these agreements, Canada and other U.S. allies have stepped up their trade efforts and eroded the U.S. share of important markets. The U.S. International Trade Commission estimated the South Korean agreement would increase U.S. exports by as much as $10.9 billion in the first year. The Colombia agreement would add $1.1 billion a year.
If President Obama and Congress fail to produce a free-trade agreement within the next month, Americans will know not to expect anything resembling bipartisanship between now and next year's presidential election. Obama bad-mouthed the North American Free Trade Agreement during his 2008 campaign, but, as he has done with other issues, he changed his rhetoric once he assumed the presidency. Obama has been working with Republicans to forge agreement on separate trade pacts with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea. But that was behind the scenes.
Free-trade pacts with Korea, Colombia and Panama – a hot topic in the other Washington – could heat up business in this Washington if they’re passed. In fact, this state stands to be one of the biggest winners if Congress approves the long-delayed pacts in the next few weeks. The Korean pact alone could generate $10 billion in increased exports and tens of thousands of jobs.
But one bipartisan opportunity exists to help spur growth: Approving the free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama that Obama submitted to Congress on Oct. 3…. Colombian trade would jump by more than $1 billion, according to the introductory 2006 estimate. (Commensurate calculations are not available for Panama.) Minnesota might benefit more than most areas, especially with increased agricultural and manufactured goods exports.