Taking the bloom off the free trade rose

In “taking the bloom off the free trade rose” (Op-ed, June 29), Linda Killian argues that free trade has the potential to help the United States, in spite of congressional opposition. Killian uses the Colombia Free Trade Agreement as an example of how the United States could benefit from liberalized trade. However, her analysis is one-sided because it fails to explain how the trade accord will likely hurt average Colombian workers.

By referencing steep Colombian tariffs on US goods, Killian appeals to a mythical sense of “fair play” to draw support for the agreement. First, huge US agricultural subsidies ensure a trade deal that is neither free nor fair. With the ratification of the trade deal, much of Colombia’s agricultural sector will likely suffer a fate similar to that of Connecticut’s rose growers. More important, the loss of its agriculture could undermine Colombia’s ongoing efforts to combat the rebel group FARC, stop drug trafficking, and work toward a stable democracy.

Ultimately, it seems irresponsible to discuss the trade deal without considering how much Colombia stands to lose. The Colombia trade deal, like most “free trade” agreements, is not about competition or equality, but rather the advancement of US economic interests at the expense of others.

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