A little lesson for Americans: Politics is not something that happens only in this country.
While the protracted — and we think, largely unnecessary — political battle over a free-trade agreement with South Korea finally has ended in the U.S. Congress, the Koreans have to make up their own minds about concessions sought by the U.S. government.
Many of those concessions were driven by President Barack Obama’s desire to make his own party more comfortable with the agreement, as well as smaller treaties with Panama and Colombia. Democrats stalled over the treaties too long, over small potatoes. But to the Koreans, the concessions smart a bit.
Many opposition lawmakers in the Korean parliament oppose approval of the pact. Fortunately for both countries involved, President Lee Myung-bak’s ruling party likely will push the pact through.
That’s good for both economies, promoting trade that, to use the famous baseball joke, helps both teams.
The new pact, and those with our Latin American friends, help Louisiana as much or more than any other state. Louisiana is home to five of the nation’s largest ports and has both petrochemical and agricultural products that can be sold in international markets.
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said the agreement with Colombia helps open markets there for soybeans as well as chemical products. Rice and beef, as well as other products, can benefit from opening the South Korean market, said U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette.
Overall, billions in new exports are good for America’s economy. It’s a shame, as Boustany said, that the agreements took so long to get past the hump of American politics.