Council Urges Congress to Approve the Agreement Swiftly
Washington, DC – The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) applauded today’s signing of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The Council congratulated the United States and Colombian governments for working together to develop and negotiate this important agreement, which will strengthen economic ties between the two nations. The FTA’s implementing legislation must now be sent to the U.S. Congress for ratification.
“Colombia is a growing market for U.S. goods and services, and this FTA will fortify our existing trade partnership by expanding opportunities for the U.S. business community and American workers. We congratulate negotiators from both countries for working to achieve a successful outcome. Today’s signing is proof of that hard work,” said NFTC President Bill Reinsch. “While this agreement will open markets and benefit the many U.S. companies with operations, facilities or interests in trade with Colombia, it will also bring increased stabilization and economic growth to Central and South America.”
In February 2006, the United States and Colombia reached consensus on the terms of the FTA. Today’s signing is a necessary step in the enactment process, but prior to entering into force, the agreement must be ratified by the U.S. Congress and the legislative body in Colombia. Under the terms of the agreement, 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.
“The FTA is a policy priority for the U.S. business community, including the burgeoning Hispanic American business community, which is uniquely positioned to build and benefit from a stronger two-way trading relationship between the U.S. and Colombia,” said Anne Alonzo, NFTC Senior Vice President and Co-Chair of the Hispanic Alliance for Free Trade. “We are pleased with the signing and now look to Congress to ratify the FTA as soon as possible.”
Currently, under the terms of the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA) set to expire at the end of December, many products from Colombia enter the United States duty-free. Once enacted, the FTA will allow for permanent duty-free treatment of these specified goods, helping to bolster economic growth throughout the nation.
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. Last year, U.S. exports to Colombia accounted for $5.4 billion, a 20 percent increase from 2004.
Advancing Global Commerce for Over 90 Years
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.