Trade Preferences Suspended in the Name of Democracy
The Obama administration deserves applause for suspending
the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) trade preferences of
It’s too bad the standard trade agreement model doesn’t contain these types of democracy-preserving provisions, as Hondurans found out when their democratically elected President was ousted in a coup this June.
Given that 70% of Honduran exports go to the
REPORTER: Yeah. I just wanted you to elaborate why [suspending trade preferences] is not a possibility.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: We have an agreement called the CAFTA agreement [i.e. the Central American Free Trade Agreement], and apparently provisions in that make it impossible – very difficult, if not impossible, for us to do that, so we can’t – it looks like we cannot go down that route.
Our trade policy should be promoting democratic governance instead of handcuffing our ability to discourage coups and dictatorships. Signing CAFTA-style trade agreements is a surefire way to diminish our capacity to conduct effective foreign policy.