Two years after the United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement went into force on May 15, 2012, the agreement continues to make good on its promise of supporting the growth of 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 Leads to Growth of American Jobs
- U.S. producers are taking advantage of increased access to the Colombian market. In 2013, U.S. total goods exports to Colombia totaled $18.6 billion, up nearly 30 percent from 2011, the year before the agreement entered into force.
- Exports to Colombia supported more than an estimated 80,000 jobs for American workers in 2013.
Increased Consumer and Industrial Product Exports
- Petroleum and coal products exports doubled to $5.5 billion from 2011 to 2013, and transportation equipment exports grew 46 percent to $1.3 billion in this period.
- Exports of processed foods have experienced significant growth, increasing 93 percent to $834 million. Electronics also showed gains, with exports of computer and electronic products up 31 percent to $2.6 billion.
- Textile and fabric exports increased 28 percent to $98 million.
Increased Agricultural Exports
- The reduced tariffs under the agreement significantly opened the market. In 2013, U.S. agricultural exports to Colombia increased more than 34 percent over 2011, to $1.51 billion. Colombia is currently the third largest purchaser of U.S. agricultural products in South America.
- Exports of soybeans and soybean products increased 69 percent to $308 million, and dairy product exports jumped 214 percent to $26.7 million. Pork exports were up 205 percent to $88.1 million, and beef and beef products exports increased 133 percent to $9.1 million. Fresh grape exports increased more than 50 percent to $10.4 million, and tree nut exports increased 359 percent to $12.4 million. Rice exports grew from $3.1 to $74.2 million.
- The agreement has also provided a vehicle for our two countries to resolve longstanding regulatory issues that had impeded trade between our countries. For example, within the last year the United States worked with Colombia to amend the technical import certification requirements pertaining to fresh and chilled pork, which will further expand opportunities for U.S. exporters to this fast growing market.
Meaningful Progress on Labor Rights and Continued Collaboration
- The agreement includes strong protections for workers’ rights in its core, including enforceable commitments to adopt and maintain high labor standards. Before the agreement was signed, the U.S. and Colombian governments also agreed on concrete steps under the Colombian Action Plan Related to Labor Rights to address long-standing issues of mutual concern concerns including violence against Colombian labor union members and inadequate efforts to bring the perpetrators of such violence to justice, and insufficient protection of workers’ rights.
- Since then, the Government of Colombia has made meaningful progress under the Action Plan, including a significant reduction in the use of illegal cooperatives, passage of new labor laws to strengthen worker’s rights protections, and increased hiring and training of police investigators and prosecutors to address violence against unionists. But much important work remains to solidify and build on this progress to improve respect for labor rights in Colombia
- The Administration looks forward to continuing labor cooperation with Colombia, and both countries have agreed to extend formal meetings on the issues under the Action Plan through at least 2014. For a detailed update on the Colombian Action Plan Related to Labor Rights, click [here]
A Bright Future for Both Countries
- Over 80 percent of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial products and more than half of U.S. agricultural exports to Colombia are already duty free, with most remaining tariffs phased out within 5 to 15 years.
- The Colombian government has been pursuing sound policies to promote market openness and competitiveness and has promoted export diversification. Since the Agreement came into force, Colombia diversified its export based with 1,609 companies exporting goods to the United States for the first time. The future of our economic relationship, building on our trade agreement, is bright.
Other benefits of the Agreement include:
- Expanded Access to Services Markets: Colombia now provides substantial market access across its entire services sector. For example, Colombia agreed to eliminate measures that prevented U.S. firms from hiring U.S. professionals and to phase-out market restrictions in cable television.
- Greater Protection for Intellectual Property Rights: The Agreement calls on Colombia to implement improved standards for the protection and enforcement of a broad range of intellectual property rights, consistent with emerging international standards. When fully implemented, such improvements will include requirements for IPR protections that are critical to protecting copyrighted works like music, movies, and software from piracy in the digital environment; deterrent criminal penalties against copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting; robust patent and test data protection that respect the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health; and state-of-the-art protection for trademarks.
- Commitments to Protect the Environment: Colombia has commitments to adopt, maintain and implement in its laws and regulations its obligations under certain common multilateral environmental agreements as well as to effectively enforce its environmental laws. These environmental obligations are subject to the same dispute settlement and enforcement mechanisms as other commercial obligations under the agreement.
- Fair and Open Government Procurement: U.S. suppliers now have rights to non-discriminatory treatment in bidding on procurement opportunities offered by a broad range of Colombian government ministries, agencies, public enterprises, and regional governments. The agreement requires the use of fair and transparent procurement procedures, such as advance notice of purchases and timely and effective bid review procedures.
- A Level Playing Field for U.S. Investors: U.S. companies in Colombia are protected against discriminatory or unlawful treatment and the Agreement provides a neutral and transparent mechanism for settlement of investment disputes.