'Manufacturers of Misery' Oppose Free Trade

By rejecting Washington's plan for a Free Trade Area of the Americas, according to this editorial from Spain's El Diario Exterior, 'the manufacturers of misery, who are stuck in slogans of the 1970s, have dynamited' what was a chance to 'replace poverty and under-development with trade and a market economy.'

November 15, 2005

El Diario Exterior - Original Article (Spanish)

Those manufacturers of misery who bandy about slogans from the 1970s have dynamited what had been a chance to pass from poverty and underdevelopment, to trade and a market economy.

Chilean and American companies continue to tale advantage of the commercial opening up and new opportunities that the FTA [Free Trade Agreement] brings the two countries. As was published in Diario Exterio, during the first year that the treaty was in force, bilateral trade grew 33%, and it has already risen an additional 38.8% up to September 30, 2005.

Chile's gamble on the FTA has resulted in exports valued at $4.8 billion, in increase of 30.5% compared to 2003. Imports rose 3.4 billion, an increase of 32% over the previous year. Likewise, the dynamic trend in exports has ­propelled the sale of industrial products, with exports reaching $2.6 billion.

In 1991, 32.5% of products exported to the United States by Chile were industrial. Today this percentage has reached 57.2%. Thanks to the Free Trade Agreement, Chile has remarkably diversified production. During 2004, 2,135 companies exported 2,088 products to the U.S., which has contributed positively and directly to job creation.
Commercial relations between Chile and the United States are highly complementary. Chile exports agricultural products, mining equipment, food products, forest products and wood furniture, and imports industrial and capital goods. Far from causing an imbalance in Chile's balance of payments, which is the argument most commonly used by protectionists against free trade, the Chilean currency has become stronger, according to the Bank of Chile.

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The impact on its productive economy is quite beneficial. Once only a minimal exporter of copper, Chile today stands out as an exporter of industrial products such as propane and liquefied butane; agricultural products like lilium bulbs and cut and dried tomatoes; self-propelled excavation machinery, trucks and machinery for mining; wood products; and textile products like combed wool.

Another myth that has evaporated is the eternal claims about agricultural subsidies. To give only one example, the FTC with the United States has rejuvenated the Chilean milk sector, which after almost a decade of stagnation, has begun to show a remarkable comeback. Factors that have tended to reduce subsidies, like the increase in international prices and the exceptional production conditions in Chile "re-enamored" investors with the local milkman.

The data is a dramatic demonstration of the opportunity that was lost at Mar Del Plata [the 4th Summit of the Americas in Argentina] because of the MERCOSUR boycott of the FTAA. The manufacturers of misery who are stuck in slogans of the 1970s have dynamited what was a chance to replace poverty and under-development with trade and a market economy. They have contributed once again to the perpetuation of abject third-world socialism, and damaged the project of building a dynamic globalized economy.

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