THE U.S.-COLOMBIA TRADE AGREEMENT: ONE YEAR LATER
May 15, 2013 signifies the one-year anniversary of the of the United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement taking effect – and that agreement is making good on its promise of supporting more American jobs, increasing U.S. exports for manufacturers, farmers and ranchers, and enhancing U.S. competitiveness.
More Exports to Colombia of Made-in-America Goods
Results show that U.S. manufacturers are taking advantage of increased access to the Colombian market. From May 2012 through March 2013, U.S. goods exports to Colombia totaled $15.9 billion, up 20% from May 2011 through March 2012. Transportation equipment exports grew a substantial 61% to $1.4 billion, and exports of petroleum and coal products experienced gains of 46%, totaling $3.6 billion. Exports of processed foods have experienced significant increases, jumping up 129% to $694 million. Electronics also showed gains with exports of computer and electronic products up 17% to $2.3 billion.
More Exports to Colombia of American Agricultural Products
Since Colombia is currently the second largest purchaser of U.S. agricultural products in South America, it is no surprise that the reduced tariffs under the agreement have opened the market even further. Exports of soybeans jumped 467% to $118.6 million, and dairy product exports grew 214% to $24.7 million. Pork exports were up 66% to $45.2 million, and grapes exports increased 36% to $9.3 million. Wheat exports grew 15% in the same period, to $186.4 million. The agreement has also provided a vehicle for our two countries to engage on key outstanding issues related to the U.S.-Colombia agricultural trade relationship, and has helped us resolve longstanding regulatory issues that had impeded greater trade between our countries.
Labor Action Plan: Enforcement and Advances
Before the trade agreement entered into force, the Obama Administration took steps to ensure that Colombia effectively implemented its commitments under the Colombian Action Plan Related to Labor Rights. Since then, the Administration has been engaged in an ongoing dialogue with Colombia to build on progress under the Action Plan. Important advances over the past year include a dramatic reduction in the use of illegal cooperatives, partly the result of unprecedented fines against companies in violation of new laws; the passage of new labor laws that expand the application of fines to address other forms of illegal contracting; and increased efforts to reduce violence and impunity, including by strengthening protection programs and improving the management and prosecution of labor homicide cases. The Administration looks forward to further progress and continuing cooperation with Colombian authorities to support Colombia's ongoing implementation of its Action Plan commitments as well as its obligations under the trade agreement.
A Bright Future for Both Countries
Today, over 80% of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial products and more than half of agricultural exports to Colombia are already duty free, with remaining tariffs phased out over defined time periods. The potential for the U.S.-Colombia trade relationship to continue to grow is exciting. The Colombian government has been pursuing sound policies to promote market openness and competitiveness, and has been rewarded with expanded trade. The future of our economic relationship, building on our trade agreement, is bright.