The Missing Trade

Tim Lee delves deeper into the myseriously low proportion of trade in the text of the US-Colombia trade deal. This has, of course, become utterly typical. I wish people were more aware of this reality. Some of these deals may be good for America, others may be bad, and yet others (like this one) probably just won’t make much of a difference either way. But however you want to argue the merits of any particular deal, reference to a trade model out of an economics textbook is neither here nor there.

Dan Drezner explains that the deal is really about cementing the US-Colombian bilateral relationship. Maybe so. I would just observe that free traders spend a lot of time rending garments over the alleged ignorance of their protectionist adversaries but seem to have remarkably little time for self-scrutiny about all the dishonesty and funny-business that goes into the forming and passing of these agreements. As I wrote initially, I’m all for lowering American barriers to imported goods, but it’s hard for me to see an agreement like this one as particularly germane to that issue.