Following a meeting of leaders at the White House April 7, the long-delayed free trade agreement (FTA) between the United State and Columbia looks to be on the way to completion, much like an agreement worked out with South Korea before it. The president believes it will be a boon for small business exporting efforts.
President Barack Obama and Columbian President Juan Manuel Santos reached to an agreement on labor improvements, such as rights of those who unionize and labor workers’ safety in once crime-plagued Columbia, long seen as a significant stumbling block to completing the FTA. Perhaps buoyed by China’s attempts to build trade inroads with the nation, it’s now the second of three trade agreements started during the Bush Administration. The framework of the Columbian FTA was forged in 2006.
“The United States has an enormous interest in the development of Latin America and an enormous interest in progress in Colombia,” said Obama. “President Santos I think is at the forefront of a progressive and thoughtful agenda within Colombia. He’s obviously initiating a whole range of reforms…This [FTA] represents a potential $1 billion of exports, and it could mean thousands of jobs for workers here in the United States. And so I believe that we can structure a trade agreement that is a win-win for both our countries, and I’m looking forward to working with President Santos to ensure that both countries benefit. And this will help me meet my goal of making sure the United States has doubled exports over the coming years and that we’re as competitive as we can be in a global marketplace in the 21st century.”
(Note: To view the White House-approved details of the now imminent FTA, see the fact sheets by clicking the highlighted link).
Brian Shappell, NACM staff writer