Brazilian President Luiz Inacio da Silva has some advice for the Obama administration about protectionism: Don’t do it. “Lula,” as da Silva is known, is coming to the U.S. for a visit and told The Wall Street Journal nations that have been free traders should resist the urge to set up trade barriers because of faltering economies. “Protectionism can seem beneficial at first, but in the long term it wounds countries, above all the poor countries, which need to sell their goods to the rich countries in the global economy,” he said.
That Lula, who governs mostly as a leftist, plans to use part of his visit to push for a proposed U.S.-Colombia free-trade agreement that would benefit a competitor in the U.S. market says a lot about his belief in the overall good that results from trade. Lula is scheduled to meet with President Barack Obama, but he needs to take his pro-trade message to Congress, where majority Democrats under pressure from organized labor have the Colombia trade deal and others on hold.