Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Columbia Free Trade Agreement

President Bush notified Congress of his intent to sign the U.S.-Colombia TPA on August 24, 2006. The U.S. and Colombia signed the Agreement on November 22, 2006. Both countries need to pass implementing legislation before the U.S.-Colombia TPA can enter into force.

Colombia: On a Path to Peace, Justice and Prosperity
Seven years ago, Colombia was nearly a failing state. Violence was rampant, investors were fleeing the country, and economic activity was plummeting. Since then, Colombia and the United States have worked together to combat violence and instability. Together we have made extraordinary strides in a few short years. U.S. assistance and tariff preferences under the Andean Trade Preference Act have been key elements of our joint strategy to promote peace, justice and prosperity. (Fact Sheet)

Why a Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement?
The U.S.-Colombia TPA is a tremendous opportunity for U.S. exporters. It will give U.S. companies improved access to a strong market and improve the business climate in Colombia as the country enacts the necessary domestic legal and business reforms required to implement the Agreement.

• The U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (CTPA) will deliver economic opportunity to Colombians through sustained economic growth, increased investment, new employment, and anti-corruption reforms.
• The historic U.S.-Colombia partnership is yielding real results in Colombia’s stability:
o Violence in Colombia has plummeted – homicides down 40% in last 5 years.
o Over 9,400 individuals benefit from Colombia’s Protection Programs (a fifth are trade unionists).
o In 2008, the Government of Colombia increased the budget for the Prosecutor General's Office by $40 million – more than half will fund the Justice and Peace and Human Rights Units in pursuit of justice for victims of violence.

• 91 percent of Colombia’s exports to the United States enter duty-free under unilateral trade preference programs, while U.S. exports to Colombia face an average tariff exceeding 11 percent. • The CTPA levels the playing field for U.S. manufacturers, farmers, and service workers by opening up Colombia’s market.

• U.S. merchandise exports to Colombia exceeded $8.5 billion in 2007, a 28 percent increase from 2006. Colombia now ranks as our 26th largest export market.
• In 2007, U.S. farmers and ranchers shipped $1.2 billion in agricultural goods to Colombia, up 41 percent in a single year, making Colombia the largest export market for U.S. farm products in the Hemisphere outside of NAFTA.
• The FTA offers U.S. exports a permanent competitive advantage in the Colombian market. • Our market share in Colombia is falling—in 2007, U.S. merchandise held a 26.5 percent share of Colombia’s import market, a steady decline from 28.3 percent in 2005 and 34.4 percent in 2001. • Already, U.S. products are losing market share to competitors with whom Colombia has free trade agreements, such as Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil. U.S. products also face increasing competition from Colombia’s other fast-growing partners such as China and South Korea.

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