Trade Agreement Would Promote U.S. Exports and Colombian Civil Society

8 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2013

See all articles by Juan Hidalgo

Juan Hidalgo

Cato Institute

Daniel T. Griswold

Mercatus Center at George Mason University

Date Written: February 15, 2011


A free-trade agreement (FTA) between the United States and Colombia has been stalled in the U.S. Congress for more than four years since it was signed in November 2006. Proponents of the agreement argue that it will promote U.S. exports and deepen our ties with a key democratic ally in South America. Opponents in Congress and the U.S. labor movement contend that the Colombian government has not done enough to curb violence against trade unionists. In his State of the Union address on January 25, 2011, President Obama highlighted his National Export Initiative as a way to promote growth and the creation of well-paying jobs. Toward that goal, he specifically mentioned pending trade agreements with South Korea, Panama, and Colombia: "Now, before I took office, I made it clear that we would enforce our trade agreements, and that I would only sign deals that keep faith with American workers and promote American jobs. That’s what we did with Korea, and that’s what I intend to do as we pursue agreements with Panama and Colombia and continue our Asia Pacific and global trade talks."

The president and the leaders of the new 112th Congress are widely expected to work together in the coming months to enact the South Korea agreement (analyzed in an October 2010 Cato Trade Briefing Paper). The fate of the Colombia agreement is much more in doubt. The purpose of this bulletin will be to examine the Colombia agreement in light of the president’s call to boost U.S. exports, and to examine whether violence in Colombia against union members poses a legitimate obstacle to trade liberalization.

Keywords: U.S. free trade agreements, American trade policy, United States-Columbia relations, benefits of free trade, American foreign policy and South America

JEL Classification: F10, F13

Suggested Citation

Hidalgo, Juan and Griswold, Daniel T., Trade Agreement Would Promote U.S. Exports and Colombian Civil Society (February 15, 2011). Cato Institute Free Trade Bulletin No. 44, Available at SSRN:

Juan Hidalgo (Contact Author)

Cato Institute ( email )

1000 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20001-5403
United States

Daniel T. Griswold

Mercatus Center at George Mason University ( email )

3434 Washington Blvd., 4th Floor
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

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