On paper, Chile looks like a great addition to NAFTA. But U.S. politics could get in the way.
Advocates of free trade would have a tough time finding a more suitable country than Chile to join in the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The nation enjoys steady economic growth and a stable currency and has made a mostly smooth transition from military dictatorship to democracy. Better yet, from a trade perspective, Chile has relatively low import tariffs, few exports that compete with American products and, because it's located far from the United States, poses little threat of illegal immigration.
But timing, politics and a protectionist mood among the American electorate threaten to derail what should be a …