Free trade agreements can allow individuals from nations involved in a trade pact to trade freely without the hassle and counterproductive measures of high tariffs and other restrictive barriers, which significantly hurt economies. Additionally, free trade may ease tensions between nations (militarily speaking) and even help deter terrorism.
Coincidentally, Brazil decided to do all of the above. Brazil as well as Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay (the Mercosur bloc) agreed to a free trade agreement with Israel, which will become the first non-Latin American member of Mercosur. Brazil believes trade with Israel will “swell” to $3 billion in the next five years from its current level of less than $1 billion.
Additionally, Brazil’s president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, plans to visit Iran in May. This comes after a visit to Israel to discuss trade and peace in the region. President Lula amplified the peace and stability talk by saying, “…that he hopes he can serve as a peacemaker in the region.”
What does a free trade agreement have to do with peace in the region?
1. A strong economic relation between Brazil and Israel helps promotes stability due to the possibility of severe economic loss.
2. Brazil clearly wants peace, economic stimulation and prosperity to drive Israel and Iran away from potential conflict by visiting both nations with economics in mind.
3. Iran does not want to lose Brazil as an ally, and Israel will not want to lose Brazil as an economic trading partner, so Brazil may be able to play a stronger role in “brokering” better relations between the two countries.
Not only do free trade agreements enable open dialogue and cross-cultural exchange between nations, they also create new economic opportunities in the developing world. Perhaps the U.S. should take a look at free trade agreements with nations to promote not only economic growth but also liberty, prosperity, and peace as side effects.