The U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) officially entered into force yesterday.
The agreement is expected to increase U.S. exports to Colombia by more than $1 billion annually, while increasing U.S. gross domestic product by $2.5 billion and supporting thousands of new jobs. More than 80% of U.S. exports are now immediately granted duty-free access according to the terms of the FTA, while remaining tariffs will be phased out over the course of the next decade.
"Colombia is dropping tariffs on our manufactured and agricultural goods and that means the door is opening for American workers and businesses to grow," said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT). "This is a major economic win that levels the playing field for American workers and businesses."
Baucus noted that U.S. companies have lost Colombian market share recently since, in the years between the U.S. FTA's creation and its approval, Brazil, Argentina and Canada have all signed their own FTAs with Colombia. "Colombia's economy is growing quickly and it's a lucrative market for the world-class products made here in the U.S.," he added. "This trade deal is worth a billion dollars in new U.S. exports and thousands of new jobs at home, and that's just the kind of boost our economy needs."
Business groups also lauded the FTA's entrance into force. "Colombia has been the world's greatest turnaround story of the past decade," said Thomas Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "Given the Colombian economy's rapid growth, this landmark agreement will open the door to exciting new business opportunities and job creation in the U.S. and Colombia."
U.S. exports to Colombia have already risen four-fold over the past decade, topping $14 billion last year, according to the Chamber.
Jacob Barron, CICP, NACM staff writer