Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy (belated) July 4th!

I hope everyone had a Happy 4th of July!
I wish I could have been in Boston with the fatkids...last year's fireworks by the Charles River were amazing!

This year I went to my friend's house in Maryland for the ultimate fatfest. Heidi's mom makes the BEST chicken wings EVER! (From the way I talk sometimes, you'd think that I'm terribly obese, but I have yet to break 100

@ work this week:
Something I wrote the other day after watching this. President Uribe answered a question about free trade and his answer was so heartfelt and sincere...

His Excellency Álvaro Uribe Vélez, President of Colombia
Wilson Center Forum on 6.30.09

At a forum hosted by the Wilson Center on June 30th, 2009, Colombian President Álvaro Uribe presented, to the audience, a delineation of the improvements that have been made to Colombia’s political, sociological, and economical scenes. President Uribe has done much to improve the stability of his country, and in 2006, he was re-elected by an overwhelming margin of 62 percent. Despite improvements in the country, the U.S. has been reluctant to move forward with the U.S.-Colombian Free Trade Agreement.

As stated during the forum, the issue of trade has taken a back seat on President Obama’s agenda. However, Colombia’s free trade agreement has more to do with simply opening the American market to Colombian exports. The ratification of the U.S.-Colombian Free Trade Agreement would be, as President Uribe stated, a signal of friendship and confidence between the two countries. President Uribe argued that such a signal would help lift Colombia out of poverty by attracting more foreign direct investment. While a free trade agreement would be convenient for both countries, Colombia does not predict a dramatic increase in exports to the U.S. in the near future. President Uribe believes that before Colombia can become an export-driven economy, it must provide its people with an alternative to narco-trafficking. In order for Colombia to fund such alternatives, it is in need of foreign investment. Foreign investment would increase income distribution and decrease poverty in Colombia, while shifting workers into a formalized economy. The Colombian President expressed frustration in having to explain to foreign investors that although Colombia’s government is committed to protecting private investors, the U.S. has still not agreed to free trade with Colombia. President Uribe called the free trade agreement a “necessary signal” in not only improving bilateral relations with the U.S. but also moving the Colombian economy into one that is formalized and self-sustainable.

Such a ratification may also draw attention to the KORUS FTA, which has been called an “easier” free trade agreement in that it is a purely economical case. However, it is unlikely that trade will be addressed in the near future while such issues as health care and climate change are being addressed.


  1. three stories, so many lessons

  2. Esther, I love reading Uribe's! Thank you for the summary. I love every writing of yours!

    But one thing to point out. I don't think KORUS FTA is an easier free trade agreement, although I can guess this isn't purely your idea from the quotation mark!

    KORUS FTA didn't come out from a purely economical consideration. Rather, it was proposed with an intention to further enhance the Korea-U.S. alliance... which was established in 1953 after sharing the experience of Korean war. KORUS FTA will, of course, function as a way to strengthen the Korea-U.S. relationship, which leads to the expression of reassured commitment of U.S. on the Korean peninsula, and this is actually one of the tactics Korea is trying to persuade U.S. congressmen to support the pact.