Washington, D.C. – Elected officials, as well as business and industry leaders, are applauding the entry into force of the U.S-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement today – which means that 80 percent of American exports of industrial and manufactured products to Colombia are now duty-free. President Obama and Colombian President Santos announced that the agreement would enter into force today during the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia on April 15.
Since the agreement won Congressional approval last fall, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has worked diligently with the Colombian government to bring it into force quickly and correctly. The agreement will boost America’s exports to Colombia and help to support well-paying jobs for American workers.
Here’s what leaders are saying so far:
- “This Agreement will provide American businesses, farmers, and ranchers with significantly improved access to the third largest economy in South America. It immediately eliminates or reduces tariffs on almost all U.S. industrial exports to Colombia, presenting new opportunities for U.S. exporters to enter or expand their presence in Colombia’s growing economy. In addition, it provides significant new access to Colombia’s $180 billion services market, supporting increased opportunities for U.S. service providers.” -- U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson
- "For America's farmers, ranchers, and agricultural businesses, the timing could not be better. U.S. agriculture is currently experiencing one of its best periods in history thanks to the productivity and resourcefulness of American farmers and agribusinesses. Much of the record growth these past few years is related to President Obama's leadership on trade. Last year, the President insisted that we get this agreement with Colombia right—alongside pacts with South Korea and Panama—that led to strong bipartisan support in both houses of Congress. In 2010, the President committed to double U.S. exports in five years. Two years later, we are on pace to meet that goal.” -- U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack
- “Exporting goods to South America just got easier for America’s small businesses. Today, the U.S. – Colombia Trade Agreement goes into effect, opening yet another fast-growing market to goods made in America. This exciting agreement marks a significant development in the Obama Administration’s efforts to expand access to American goods in emerging markets around the world.” – SBA Administrator Karen Mills
- “Colombia is dropping tariffs on our manufactured and agricultural goods, and that means the door is opening for American workers and businesses to grow. This a major economic win that levels the playing field for American workers and businesses. Colombia’s economy is growing quickly, and it’s a lucrative market for the world-class products made here in the U.S. This trade deal is worth a billion dollars in new U.S. exports and thousands of new jobs at home, and that’s just the kind of boost our economy needs.” -- Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT)
- “Today’s entry into force is cause for celebration. I appreciate and applaud the significant effort by the administrations of both Presidents Obama and Santos to ensure prompt implementation of the agreement after Congress approved it in October. Now we can begin reaping the substantial benefits that the Colombia trade agreement unlocks. The U.S. International Trade Commission has estimated that the agreement will increase U.S. exports by $1.1 billion and increase U.S. GDP by $2.5 billion. That means substantial U.S. job creation, which we so greatly need in this difficult economy.” -- Representative Dave Camp (R-MI), Ways and Means Chairman
- “Entry into force of this agreement is very good news for U.S. workers, farmers, manufacturers, and service exporters. We can now begin to recapture export market share that we lost in Colombia during the years that the trade agreement was not in force. Now that we are ‘back on the field’ in Colombia and Korea, I look forward to rapid implementation of the Panama trade agreement, as well.” -- Representative Kevin Brady (R-TX), Trade Subcommittee Chairman
- “Today’s announcement is great news for American workers, manufacturers, farmers, and service providers. As it stood, average Colombian tariffs on U.S. exports ranged from 7.4 to 14.6 percent. This agreement levels the playing field for American workers, increasing our market access so American companies can compete fairly and grow jobs here at home. With the potential to increase U.S. exports by $1.1 billion and increase U.S. GDP by $2.5 billion, this agreement shows the world we are serious about pursuing a robust trade agenda. I applaud the bipartisan work done to ensure the passage of this agreement, and look forward to the swift implementation of the Panama trade agreement as well.” -- Representative Erik Paulsen (MN-03), Ways and Means Committee Member
- “Colombia has been the world’s greatest turnaround story of the past decade. Given the Colombian economy’s rapid growth, this landmark agreement will open the door to exciting new business opportunities and job creation in the U.S. and Colombia. Rather than rest on our laurels, we must continue to push forward with a bold job-creating trade agenda. The Chamber’s trade priorities include congressional approval of permanent normal trade relations with Russia, new trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and proposed accords with the European Union and several other markets, as well as renewal of the president’s trade negotiating authority.” -- Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
- “This is a very good day for wheat farmers. The tariff situation has basically forced our largest customer, historically, in South America to buy more wheat from Canada and Argentina. Now our customers in Colombia will not have to pay the tariff and we can compete equally on the basis of quality, supply and service. Implementing this FTA is particularly important to U.S. wheat farmers, who rely on exports to market about half of their crops each year. In marketing year 2010/2011, Colombia imported from Gulf and Pacific Northwest tributaries about 800,000 metric tons of U.S. wheat from five of six classes.” -- Randy Suess, a wheat farmer from Colfax, WA, and chairman of U.S. Wheat Associates (USW)