Peru-China free trade pact
While visiting Peru for the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) summit meeting, Chinese President Hu Jintao signed a free trade agreement with Peru's President Alan Garcia. The deal eventually eliminate tariffs on the vast majority of goods traded between the two countries. See CNN.com. To satisfy its industrial sector's voracious appetite for raw materials, China has already established economic relations with several Latin American countries (besides Cuba, of course). How long will it be before American leaders recognize the strategic implications of this outreach by Beijing?
In the United States, meanwhile, Congress keeps dragging its heels on passing free trade agreement with Colombia, mainly because of obstructionist labor unions. The Peru-U.S. free trade pact was ratified in the U.S. Senate nearly a year ago, after excruciating arm twisting. Improved economic relations between the United States and Latin America are manifestly in our national interest for a variety of reasons: discouraging drug trafficking, reducing the flow of illegal immigrants to the United States, and keeping the continent on friendly terms in an often-hostile world. It is foolishly short-sighted for members of Congress to neglect this urgent business just for the sake of votes from union members. In that regard, John McCain was clearly on the right, "progressive" side of this issue during the 2008 campaign, while Barack made excuses for the status quo. Let's see if he applies his mantra of change to U.S.-Latin American trade relations after he takes office.