November 5, 2005


Bush espouses free trade (Joseph Curl, November 5, 2005 , THE WASHINGTON TIMES)

President Bush yesterday pushed for free trade among the Americas stretching from Alaska to Argentina as thousands protested his visit and the president of Venezuela vowed to "bury" the trade pact. [...]

"Free societies are important to the progress of men and women; but free societies also require institutions that are solid and sound, institutions such as the right to worship freely, the right to say what you want in the press freely, the right to campaign and express your opinions freely," he said.

"I will remind people today at this important summit that -- as we talk about poverty and minority rights, which is of concern to many countries here, that ... such concerns are our concerns, and that if you're interested in minority rights, the best way to allow minorities to have rights is in a democratic society, where the people actually make the decisions for government," Mr. Bush said.

The president, who pushed a free trade agreement through Congress this year for Central America and the Dominican Republic -- known as CAFTA -- also delivered the message that free trade is key to alleviating poverty and unemployment throughout the Americas. He said a free trade agreement with the Andean nations Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia, which are also stalled, would be a good start.

"All those countries recognize the importance of having a free trade agreement with the United States, and I assured them that our negotiators are negotiating in good faith, and will continue to negotiate in good faith," the president said after discussions the nations' leaders.

Although the FTAA talks are stalled, Mr. Bush got some support from Mexican President Vicente Fox, who said yesterday that a majority of nations in the Western Hemisphere will consider moving forward with negotiations without the participation of dissenting countries.

Mr. Fox said 29 of the 34 countries participating in this year's summit support such a pact.

Assistant Secretary of State Tom Shannon said moving ahead without dissenting countries is an option.

"Although we call it Free Trade Area of the Americas, and our goal is to have an economically integrated hemisphere stretching from Canada to the tip of Chile and Argentina, obviously, to the degree to which there is any country in the region that decides it cannot join FTAA, that's going to be their sovereign decision, and there's really not much we or anybody else can do about it," he said.


Posted by Orrin Judd at November 5, 2005 6:59 AM


You sleazy warmonger. We shouldn't invade them to get them into a free trade deal.

We should invade them to kill their leftists.

Posted by: some random person at November 5, 2005 7:14 AM

It's been said many time before but I'll say it again. I thought the steel tariffs proved that he didn't care about free trade!

Seriously if they get the FTAA talks goiong how fast before chavez and Brazil complain about being left out?

Posted by: mc at November 5, 2005 8:42 AM

And he let Fox do the smackdown.

Posted by: Sandy P at November 5, 2005 9:52 AM

just put in some financial penalties for non-members' goods and make late joiners get a less favorable deal, and they will be signed up by monday.

Posted by: adam smith at November 5, 2005 9:53 AM

Bush SR did 95% of the work on NAFTA but since it carried over into Clinton's term Clinton usually gets the credit for it. I'll bet W won't make the same mistake and will get something done, even excluding nations that don't want in.

Posted by: AWW at November 5, 2005 12:44 PM