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2 may. 2007

¿Fracasa el TLC? Por Silvio Rendon

Leo este artículo:
Democrats play with fire in Latin America
By ANDRES OPPENHEIMER

Will Congress pass the pending free-trade agreements with Colombia, Peru and Panama? Or will the United States effectively turn its back on some of its few remaining friends in Latin America?

I have to confess that when I asked these questions to some well-placed congressional watchers this week -- as Peruvian President Alán García was lobbying Congress in Washington and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe was preparing a similar trip next week -- I was surprised by their pessimism.

I expected many of them to say that Congress may narrowly ratify these trade deals at the last minute, as has often happened in the past. But judging from what I was told, there is a real possibility that it won't happen, and that Congress will in effect tell Latin America, ``Hasta la vista, baby.''

...

• Problem No. 1: Time is running out. President Bush's congressional authority to sign new trade deals expires July 1, and Congress will only have 90 days after the treaties' signatures to approve them.

• Problem No. 2: Even if the White House and Democratic leaders reach a compromise, there is no guarantee that the full Congress will approve it. Most members of the Democratic majority don't want to antagonize anti-free trade labor unions. At the most, they may vote for a free-trade deal with South Korea, citing larger geopolitical reasons.
• Problem No. 3: A growing number of Republicans, brainwashed by protectionist television fear-mongers such as CNN's Lou Dobbs, are turning their backs on free trade. While recent free trade deals were passed with 15 Democratic votes, the pending agreements may require nearly 60 Democratic votes, congressional head counters say.

...

`VERY PESSIMISTIC'

Richard Feinberg, a former top Latin American advisor to the Clinton White House, put the odds of ratification at 33 percent.

''I am very pessimistic,'' Feinberg said. ``On the Republican side, there is fear in that if they offer concessions, the Democrats will ask for more. On the Democratic side, there is deep distrust that Republicans will faithfully implement any accord.''

Former U.S Trade Representative Carla Hills refused to play the odds game, but conceded that ``this is going to be difficult.''
...
Hay información complementaria y comentarios en el blog: Blog de Andrés Oppenheimer.

Comentario: Lo había anticipado en otros posts. Hay escenarios posibles de no aprobación del TLC. Para nada hay el triunfalismo de Alan García ni de su prensa afín. No aprobar el TLC tendría consecuencias negativas tanto económicas como políticas para el país. No habrá otros TLCs. Si no se firma este TLC, que es como una certificación, es menos probable que otros países (europeos, asiáticos, e incluso latinoamericanos) se animen a entrarle a un TLC con el Perú, salvo Chávez bajo sus condiciones. Ahí viene el tema político, pues se acabaría el teatro del García renovado y recargado para volver al García populista de toda la vida. Este fracaso del TLC sería un gran triunfo de los proteccionistas domésticos y americanos.

Hace poco estuve en Nueva York platicando con colegas que trabajan en banca de inversión. Les contaba sobre mi idea de una posible volteada de García hacia el eje de Chávez. Me decían que no lo veían posible, que Chávez está aislado. Eso sí. Si García hiciera algo así, la inversión extranjera se iría del Perú rapidito nomás.... Creo que la probabilidad de tal escenario ha aumentado sustancialmente. Lamentable.

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