In Support of Free Trade For Argentina
The Summit of the Americas has come to an end, Bush has gone back home, and things are getting back to normal here. The summit produced virtually no results, with Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, and a few other countries refusing to set a date to resume discussions on the Free Trade Area of the Americas. Meanwhile, the FTAA is being championed by the USA, Mexico, Panama, and a number of other countries. In fact, Bush left the summit and went to visit Panama to discuss a bilateral free trade agreement afterwards, since the FTAA seems to be going nowhere.
Despite what everyone says about Bush, he's right on free trade. Free trade is not some "yanqui" imperialist plan to control the world. It's about creating jobs, growing economies, and making everybody more wealthy. Look at the two people at the summit that were most vocally opposing free trade -- Diego Maradona, the Argentine soccer star, and Hugo Chávez, the President of Venezuela.
Maradona became rich by exporting his services as a player to clubs in Spain and Italy. Imagine where the soccer world would be without the international movement of players. Venezuela is currently awash in money from selling its oil on the global market. The global oil market is financing Chávez' pursuit of his socialist agenda at home. Both of these men benefited from global trade, but somehow what's good for them can't be good for the rest of Latin America?
At the summit, Argentina threw away an opportunity to really press Bush on actual free trade. In the last few weeks, Bush made a bold proposal to cut Agricultural subsidies as a bid to restart WTO trade talks, which would have allowed farmers and ranchers in Argentina and throughout Latin America to compete in the world's largest market.
Even though Europe and Japan weren't so exited about dropping their own subsidies as part of the WTO talks, Argentina and Latin America should have pursued this further at the summit and made it a condition of going forward with the FTAA. The FTAA doesn't need to be a one-sided giveaway to the U.S. There's no reason why Latin America can't insist on getting a fair deal. However, if they aren't even willing to talk and they're only interested in chest-pounding, then progress will never be made.
Labels: Current Events