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Monday, December 08, 2008

Will President-elect Obama end the embargo against Cuba? Stockwell Day pushes trade in Central and South America

"We support the complete removal of all trade and travel restrictions on Cuba," a dozen such business associations, including the politically potent Business Roundtable, American Farm Bureau Federation, National Retail Federation, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce wrote, in a letter addressed to Obama Thursday.

Trade is the Trojan Horse of liberty. Once it passes through the protectionist gates of fortress economies, it quietly sneaks about destroying statism and poverty. Trade also creates the conditions for peace as nations learn to cooperate for mutual advantage and reject the winner-takes-all approach of war and mercantilism. 19th century French classical liberal theorist Frederick Bastiat wrote “When goods don’t cross borders, soldiers will.”

So I welcome news from antiwar.com that Washington's nearly 50-year-old trade embargo against Cuba is coming under pressure from business leaders. Under President Bush, the Cuban embargo was relaxed somewhat to allow cell phones and computers to be sold to the communist country. The question now is whether President-elect Obama is ready to take these trade reforms all the way -- and whether International Trade Minister Stockwell Day can be a positive force for this trade liberalization.

Stockwell Day will travel to Panama today to attend the first ministerial meeting of the Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas initiative taking place from December 9-10.

The Pathways initiative was formally launched September 24 in New York to encourage trade liberalization between the United States, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Chile, Colombia, Panama and Peru.

While open trade with Cuba is likely not on the agenda with the Bush administration at the table, I hope delegates begin this discussion informally as they enjoy the hospitality of Panama City, an international centre for banking and commerce and a shining example in Central America of the wealth-creating power of trade and economic liberty.

Posted by Matthew Johnston on December 8, 2008 in Trade | Permalink


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If memory serves...the embargo on Cuba came because of its Communist system and the American government of the day refused to be in any way helpful to them. If that line of thinking is pricipled and correct then just how the hell did we end up giving our economies to Communist China?
I think its time for the charade to end. Trade with Cuba and quit being such hypocrits.

Posted by: JC | 2008-12-08 12:58:24 PM

I agree with JC. It is ridiculous to insist on maintaining an embargo with Cuba while granting favoured status to communist China. Furthermore the Americans continue to trade with equally bad, if not worse, regimes.

Posted by: Alain | 2008-12-08 6:29:47 PM

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