In This Review

Trade Relations Between Columbia and the United States
Trade Relations Between Columbia and the United States
Edited by Jeffrey J. Schott
Institute for International Economics, 2006, 192 pp

With global trade talks moribund, trade negotiators worldwide are turning their attention to bilateral and regional free-trade agreements. This latest Institute for International Economics offering intelligently and thoroughly assesses a next step in Western Hemisphere free-trade agreements, following on NAFTA and the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA): the U.S.-Colombian agreement that has been negotiated but not yet ratified by the respective legislatures. Schott correctly argues that although U.S. exporters and investors will benefit, the driving U.S. interests are broader: to catalyze further pro-competitiveness reforms and democratic prosperity in Colombia and to cement bilateral political relations. But will congressional Democrats use their new powers to block trade liberalization with developing economies? Kimberly Ann Elliott notes that Colombia has ratified many more international labor conventions than has the United States and that Colombia's labor laws are not far from international norms; of relevance, the bloody antiunion violence that plagues Colombia is mostly against public-service employees, not generally related to trade. Searching for a pragmatic bipartisan compromise, Elliott suggests further judicial reforms in Colombia and U.S. funding for capacity-building programs and labor-standard monitoring and enforcement.