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USTR and USDA Secure Improved Access for U.S. Beef and Beef Products to Colombia

January 26, 2016

Agreement is expected to further increase beef exports to Colombia which topped $14 million in 2014

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced today that the U.S. government has reached agreement with the Government of Colombia to reduce burdensome certification requirements for U.S. beef and beef products for human consumption entering Colombia . The agreement is expected to facilitate increased exports of U.S. beef and beef products, which have grown substantially since the May 2012 entry into force of the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (CTPA).

 “Colombia is already a rapidly growing market for American beef and this agreement will only further expand opportunities for American producers and exporters.” said U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman. “Just a few years ago there was little if any American beef in Colombia but through the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement, and agreement’s like this, we are seeing increased demand for high-quality American beef. This action also underscores the constructive working relationship that USTR and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials have with our Colombian counterparts, a relationship that has been enhanced through the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement.” 

“Since 2003, USDA and USTR have worked diligently to reopen and expand markets once closed to U.S. beef.  This is another win in a long line of successes that led to a near record $6.7 billion in U.S. beef and beef product exports in 2015,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “These exports are vital to our ranchers, the rural communities that depend on them, and the many Americans working in jobs throughout the value and transportation chains to produce and deliver high quality American beef products to our customers overseas.”

The agreement the two countries reached reflects the United States’ negligible risk classification for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Through an exchange of letters, the United States and Colombia have agreed to changes in certification statements that will allow beef and beef products from all federally inspected U.S. establishments to be eligible for export to Colombia, rather than only those beef and beef products from establishments that participated in the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Export Verification (EV) programs under the previous certification requirements.  U.S. exports of beef and beef products to Colombia topped $14.4 million in 2014, up over 260 percent from the $4 million posted in pre-CTPA 2011.