Council Calls for Committees of Jurisdiction to Schedule Hearings on Colombia FTA
Washington, DC – The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) today commemorated World Trade Day by calling on Congress to take action on pending free trade agreements (FTAs) with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. The Council urged committees of jurisdiction to schedule hearings on the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement, and pressed lawmakers to pursue legislation to expand the Trade Adjustment Assistance program.
“Congress has an opportunity right now to help stimulate the U.S. economy and export growth by approving trade agreements currently awaiting a vote, starting with the U.S.-Colombia FTA,” said NFTC President Bill Reinsch. “The Colombia agreement deserves prompt consideration, and we urge the committees of jurisdiction, their chairmen and ranking members, to act expeditiously in working together to schedule hearings on the FTA as soon as possible in the coming weeks.”
“We also encourage Members of Congress to engage in a substantive dialogue about ways to enhance and improve the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, to ensure that U.S. workers are able to compete and succeed in the 21st century global economy,” said Reinsch.
Under the terms of the agreement, there will be continued and increased market access for U.S. goods, including medical and construction equipment, chemicals, agricultural exports, plastics and other products. Upon its entry into force, the FTA will ensure that over 80 percent of U.S. consumer and industrial product exports will be traded duty-free, with all remaining tariffs being phased out over the next 10 years. In 2007, U.S. exports to Colombia accounted for $8.6 billion, and are expected to increase by $1.1 billion following the agreement’s entry into force.