Friday, August 29, 2008

So near yet so near

I am not sure how much NAFTA-bashing occurred in Denver this week. But trade-bashing has been a staple for all the Democrats through the campaign. This morning's LA Times includes "Opening the spigot for liquid natural gas imports ... With the help of Mexico President Felipe Calderon, San Diego-based Sempra Energy on Tuesday inaugurated its $1-billion Energia Costa Azul gas import terminal to serve fast-growing energy demands in the southwestern U.S. and Baja California." Yesterday's LA Times included "It's full speed ahead for Mexican seaport ... Calderon will open bidding for infrastructure deals today. The project may transform [Baja California] village of Punta Colonet. ..."

Politicians on both sides of the border may do some dumb things, but trade opportunities are powerful and, perhaps, strong enough to prevail.

The Times piece is wrong about "may" transform Punta Colonet. And the story includes a large photo of a guitar-strumming San Diego tourist who may lose her perch on a Mexican cliff with an ocean view.

Trade-offs everywhere, Dorothy. But markets do a better job of weighing these than campaigning politicians or newspaper writers.

"Poor Mexico. So far from God, so close to the U.S.," so goes the saying. So close to astonishing economic opportunities and so close to the disastrous U.S. War on Drugs, which may ruin Mexico before the benefits of trade can save it.