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On Third Anniversary of Colombia FTA Signing, NFTC Urges Administration to Move Forward with Trade Pact
Date: 11/23/2009
Written By: Jennifer Cummings, The Fratelli Group for NFTC, 202-822-9491

Washington, DC – The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) today joined other leading business groups in commemorating the third anniversary of the signing of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) by calling on the Administration to swiftly work through remaining issues with the Colombian Government and submit the legislation to Congress for approval.

"Colombia has long been an important ally to the United States, and continuing to let this well-crafted agreement languish is no way to treat a friend," said NFTC President Bill Reinsch. "Just this year, Colombia has seen its trade balance disrupted because its second largest trading partner, Venezuela, has gone to great lengths to sever its two-way economic ties. Both Colombia and the United States need the FTA to increase exports, generate jobs and boost economic growth."

"For the past three years, the FTA has largely been the victim of politics and demagoguery. Critics of the agreement frequently cite outdated data points on violence against labor union leaders and members, without acknowledging that Colombia has come a long way in enhancing security for all citizens by restoring the rule of law and strengthening democratic institutions," said NFTC Vice President for Regional Trade Initiatives Chuck Dittrich.

"It is convenient for some to forget that only a decade ago, Colombia was on the verge of becoming a failed state. The Colombian Government has repeatedly communicated and demonstrated its commitment to addressing concerns of U.S. policymakers, and it's high time that the agreement be considered on its merits and not viewed through a narrow, politically-charged lens," said Dittrich.

"It is our hope that the signals President Obama sent during his visit to Asia last week are a positive sign that proactive action on the U.S. trade agenda is just around the corner," said Reinsch. "We urge the Administration to work diligently and hand-in-hand with the Colombian Government to swiftly resolve remaining issues on the FTA, and submit the implementing legislation to Congress for an up-or-down vote. There is a general sense that if the Administration sent the FTA for a vote, it would be approved. It's time for good economic policy to prevail."

In September, the NFTC submitted comments regarding the FTA in response to a request published in the Federal Register by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The NFTC expressed strong support for approval of the agreement and highlighted the remarkable strides Colombia has made to strengthen its democratic institutions, grow a dynamic economy and ensure that all citizens are able to exercise their fundamental rights.

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About the NFTC
Advancing Global Commerce for 95 Years - The National Foreign Trade Council is a leading business organization advocating an open, rules-based global trading system. Founded in 1914 by a broad-based group of American companies, the NFTC now serves hundreds of member companies through its offices in Washington and New York.