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Leaders Applaud Announcement of U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement Entry into Force

Washington, DC – Elected officials and leaders across business, industry, agriculture and services issued statements supporting President Obama and Colombian President Santos’ announcement on Sunday that the U.S-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement would enter into force on May 15, 2012.

Since the agreement won strong bipartisan approval in Congress last fall, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has worked diligently with stakeholders and the Colombian government to ensure all necessary steps were taken to secure what President Obama called a “high standards agreement.”

Upon entry into force on May 15, 80 percent of U.S. exports of industrial and manufactured products to Colombia will become duty free. This will boost U.S. exports, and help to support more and better jobs for American workers.

Here’s what leaders are saying so far:

“This is great news for ranchers, farmers and businesses in Montana and across the country. In just thirty days, U.S. exporters and workers will be competing on a level playing field in this crucial market for American goods, and this will boost U.S. exports by a billion dollars and create the jobs we need here at home. We know that when Americans compete on a level playing field, they win. So this agreement entering into force is vital to giving U.S. workers a leg up in the global economy by removing Colombia’s barriers to our manufactured and agricultural goods from Montana and across the country.” – Max Baucus (D-MT), Senate Finance Committee Chairman

“This agreement will have a positive economic impact in Miami-Dade County, where international trade already generates billions of dollars for our community,” – Jose “Pepe” Diaz, Miami-Dade County Commissioner

“This landmark agreement opens the door to new business opportunities, economic growth, and job creation in the U.S. and Colombia. Today our two countries can celebrate as we take our partnership to a new level.” – Thomas Donahue, U.S. Chamber President and CEO

“The U.S. – Colombia trade agreement will increase opportunities creating jobs for America’s small and minority businesses which are the primary exporters in foreign markets. This will enhance business deals between the two countries and bring Latin America closer as a trading partner.” – Roger A. Campos, President & CEO, Minority Business RoundTable

“We are extremely pleased to see this FTA set for implementation. Our extensive efforts over the nearly six years since the agreement was first signed have finally become a reality and U.S. wheat exports will now compete on an equal basis with other major exporters." – Alvaro de la Fuentes , U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Regional Vice President for South America

“[Retail Industry Leaders Association] RILA and our members are delighted to see that the benefits of the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement will finally be realized next month. We applaud President Obama and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk for their work to implement this long-anticipated trade promotion agreement. The Colombia FTA will benefit retailers by bringing certainty and stability to the trade relationship between the United States and Colombia” – Stephanie Lester, Vice President of International Trade, Retail Industry Leaders Association