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NFTC Urges Administration to Move Forward With Next Steps on Colombia FTA
Date: 6/30/2010
Written By: Jennifer Cummings, The Fratelli Group for NFTC, (202) 822-9491

With the Canada-Colombia FTA Now Law, U.S. Cannot Afford to Continue Standing Still

Washington, DC – In response to news that the Canadian Government signed the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement into law today, the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) released the following statement.

"The news coming out of Canada is a stunning reminder that while we stand still on the trade pact we signed with Colombia in 2006, our competitors are aggressively seizing opportunities to strengthen their economic relations with one of the most important allies we have in Latin America," said NFTC President Bill Reinsch. "As President Obama pointed out six months ago in his State of the Union address, ‘If America sits on the sidelines while other nations sign trade deals, we will lose the chance to create jobs on our shores.' The president was right. The cost of inaction is great and the United States can't afford it."

"We are encouraged that the Administration committed over the weekend to move forward with negotiations on the pending FTA with Korea, with the goal of approving the agreement this year or early next. However, we urge the president to show the same kind of leadership on the Colombia and Panama agreements. All three agreements and all three markets offer opportunities to generate U.S. economic growth for our key industries," said NFTC Vice President for Regional Trade Initiatives Chuck Dittrich.

"With respect to agriculture, we are already losing ground in the Colombian market. Just last year, Colombian imports of U.S. corn, wheat and soybean meal declined 60 percent, due in large part to the Mercosur agreement's full entry into force. To make matters worse, we are in direct competition with Canada to sell our wheat, barley and pork to Colombia. As the U.S.-Colombia FTA continues to sit on the backburner, our exporters are facing high tariffs on these goods, while Canadian exporters will benefit from the phasing out and zeroing out of tariffs. Our farmers cannot afford to continue to lose market share, nor can our manufacturers and service providers. We urge the president to take action now," said Dittrich.

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About the NFTC
The National Foreign Trade Council (www.nftc.org) 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.

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