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    Senior Member jp_48504's Avatar
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    Free trade isn't free of partisan politics

    http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/com ... 7548.story

    September 26, 2005
    latimes.com : Opinion : Commentary

    Free trade isn't free of partisan politics

    By Daniel P. Erikson and Eric Jacobstein, DANIEL P. ERIKSON is director of Caribbean programs and ERIC JACOBSTEIN is manager of legislative affairs at the Inter-American Dialogue.

    BITTER PARTISANSHIP is putting the United States' trade agenda in the Americas in serious jeopardy. Faced with dim prospects for a hemisphere-wide free trade area, the Bush administration has focused on strengthening trade ties with Latin America through the creation of smaller, regional pacts such as the Central American Free Trade Agreement, which was ratified by Congress earlier this year.

    The next phase of this strategy encompasses the Andean countries of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru (with Bolivia participating as an observer). But to succeed, the White House must address the way the CAFTA vote crystallized deep divisions between Republicans and Democrats that threaten to undermine economic integration in the hemisphere.

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    The White House deservedly claims CAFTA as an important triumph, but the nature of the victory confirmed the near-total collapse of a bipartisan trade consensus in Washington. CAFTA was passed by Congress on July 27, but only after House Majority Leader Tom DeLay stayed up past midnight twisting arms to produce a 217-215 vote. More than 90% of Democrats united in opposition to CAFTA; only 15 broke ranks to support the agreement.

    Much of the divisiveness can be attributed to the process of redistricting, which has created safe Democratic or Republican seats â€
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    Senior Member jp_48504's Avatar
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    The ongoing Andean trade negotiations present Bush with the opportunity to begin to construct a more viable consensus on trade in Congress. As a first step, the administration should form a working group of pro-trade Republicans and Democrats to discuss compromises to push ahead the U.S. trade agenda. Trade policy will never be free of politics, but greater bipartisanship is essential if the U.S. is to become a more reliable ally for its key partners in Latin America.

    We dont want any of your open border "FREE" Trade Agreements.
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