Colombian President Gustavo Petro announced Wednesday that his government has begun to renegotiate its Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States, a trade instrument that has been in force between the two countries for 11 years. Since prior to his presidential campaign, Petro has questioned, among others, an imbalance in favor of the US within the agreement.
“I want to publicly announce that the renegotiation (of the FTA) has begun,” said the head of state during a meeting with coffee growers in the town of Pitalito, in the department of Huila.
The Colombian president said that the decision was the result of the disadvantages that Colombia has with the United States as a result of the signing of the FTA, in which Colombian production sectors cannot compete with those of the US.
“If I wanted to replace US corn with Colombian corn, I would have 1.2 million more jobs—that is, wealth. Why can’t I do it?” asked Petro. “Because the Free Trade Agreement with the United States, which was signed a few years ago, forbids it.”
For President Petro, and the majority of experts, wealth does not lie in extraction, but in manufacturing/industrializing. These experts see the roots of Colombia’s economic problems in a crisis of the extraction model.
In this regard, President Petro considered that the renegotiation of FTA will be one of the pillars of a transitions towards a more productive model for Colombia based on industrialization of agriculture and increased investment in human capital.
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“If we are going to industrialize, we need knowledge, that means strengthening public universities, one of the priority axes of this government,” President Petro said.
Renegotiating the FTA with the United States was one of Petro’s flagship issues during his presidential campaign.
At the time, the Colombian–American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham Colombia), that defends the interests of US corporations, highlighted that this instrument has allowed for an increase in trade between the two countries.
It also recalled that, allegedly, 11,497 Colombian products have zero-tariff access to the United States thanks to the FTA, compared to 5,500 products 10 years ago. Usually, these stats ignore the fact that most of those products are not really the products representing real export-production strengths and thus, do not threaten US production.
The Chamber of Commerce failed to mention the negative aspects of the FTA and of the US tradition of signing free trade agreements using the extortion of US investments to gain privileged access to US products around the world.
(Últimas Noticias) with Orinoco Tribune content
Translation: Orinoco Tribune
orinocotribunehttps://orinocotribune.com/author/orinocotribune/September 28, 2023