Sunday, June 15, 2008

Free trade and small farmers

Recently Colombia has been in the news a lot in discussions about the proposed "free" trade agreement (FTA) being proposed between the U.S. and Colombia. I recently wrote a short article for CPT's e-mail list about the FTA and the effects it would have on small farmers. A lot of Colombians oppose the FTA, but in trying to write about it I've discovered that the issue is complicated - its easy for multinational companies to see how it benefits them, but it's hard for family farmers, factory workers, and ordinary citizens to understand the economic impacts it will have on them, and on the Colombian civil conflict. My article attempts to explain some of these impacts, without getting too technical.

Unfortunately, although the U.S. congress has refused to vote on the FTA this year, I'm pessimistic that this is more than a short-term victory. There was a great article recently in the Globe and Mail talking about a proposed Canadian FTA with Colombia, and how when that passes - now seen by most observers as almost assured - the U.S. will follow suit.

No comments: