U.S.-Colombia FTA To Be Implemented in May

On April 15, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced that the U.S. and Colombia will enter into their trade agreement on May 15, a declaration which comes as President Barack Obama concluded his visit to Colombia for the Summit of the Americas.

The free trade agreement, which had taken several years to complete before Congress passed it last year, is now set to take effect after the Obama administration determined that Colombia had taken sufficient steps to improve labor conditions, the last hurdle before implementation of the agreement.

The trade agreement, created under the administration of President George W. Bush, will remove duties on more than 80 percent of U.S. industrial and commercial exports, and about half of the duties on agriculture exports. With average tariffs on U.S. industrial exports ranging from 7.4 to 14.6 percent, this will substantially increase U.S. exports.

Key U.S. exports will gain immediate duty-free access to Colombia, including almost all products in these sectors: agriculture and construction equipment, aircraft and parts, auto parts, fertilizers and agro-chemicals, information technology equipment, medical and scientific equipment, and wood.

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.”

The International Trade Commission (ITC) has estimated that the tariff reductions in the agreement will expand exports of U.S. goods alone by more than $1.1 billion, supporting thousands of additional American jobs. The ITC also estimated that the agreement will increase U.S. GDP by $2.5 billion.

This comprehensive trade agreement will eliminate tariffs and other barriers to U.S. exports, expand bilateral trade, promote economic growth for both our countries and help to support more and better jobs for American workers.