In a 217-215 vote, the House has approved the Central American Free Trade Agreement known as CAFTA. The Senate had previously passed the agreement and now it goes to President Bush for his signature. We at The Yellow Line have been strong supporters of this legislation and are glad to see it pass.
But free trade isn't magic. There is some give and take and there will be consequences for some Americans, particularly some farming interests. As we've said many times, the global economy and free trade are here to stay and we can either move into these agreements now and manage the results or be thrust kicking and screaming into free trade at some point in the future when it will no longer be on our terms. Thus, the passage of CAFTA gives both opponents and proponents an opportunity to work with affected industries to ensure the transition is as stable as possible.
Free trade requires us to think about industry and our economy in new ways. The benefits far outweigh the consequences but that doesn't mean we shouldn't work to minimize those negatives.
Today is a good day for free trade and the American economy. Now, let's make sure the overblown and dire predictions of the critics are proved entirely false.