The U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement (FTA) will enter into force next month, far sooner than many initially expected.
During the Summit of the Americas in Colombia this past weekend, President Barack Obama announced that the FTA will take effect on May 15, allowing over 80% of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial products to enter Colombia duty free. These include agricultural and construction equipment, building products, aircraft and parts, fertilizers, information technology equipment, medical scientific equipment and wood. Additionally, more than half of U.S. exports of agricultural commodities to Colombia will become duty-free, including wheat, barley, soybeans, high-quality beef, bacon and almost all fruit and vegetable products.
The ahead-of-schedule effective date comes as a result of quick work on the part of both nations to review each other’s laws and regulations related to the agreement’s implementation.
“This agreement will provide American businesses, farmers and ranchers with significantly improved access to the third largest economy in South America,” said U.S. Trade Ambassador Ron Kirk. “That means support for well-paying jobs at home.”
The agreement will also provide significant new access to Colombia’s $180 billion services market, supporting increased opportunities for U.S. service providers.
“This landmark agreement opens the door to new business opportunities, economic growth and job creation in the U.S. and Colombia,” said Thomas Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. According to the Chamber, U.S. exports to Colombia have risen four-fold over the past decade, topping $14 billion last year. “Today our two countries can celebrate as we take our partnership to a new level.”
Congress approved FTAs with Panama, Colombia and South Korea last October. Panama’s remains the only FTA that has yet to earn an effective date. South Korea’s was implemented on March 15.
For more information on international trade, visit FCIB’s website at www.fcibglobal.com.
Jacob Barron, NACM staff writer