U.S. Chamber Hails Announcement on U.S.-Colombia Trade Agreement Entry-into-Force
WASHINGTON D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce welcomed the announcement today by the Colombian government and President Obama’s administration that the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement will enter into force on May 15, 2012. Congress voted to approve the agreement by a large bipartisan majority last October.
“This landmark agreement opens the door to new business opportunities, economic growth, and job creation in the U.S. and Colombia,” said Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber, who traveled to Cartagena, Colombia this week to take part in the Sixth Summit of the Americas and the first CEO Summit of the Americas. “Today our two countries can celebrate as we take our partnership to a new level.”
The agreement will level the playing field for U.S. workers, farmers, and companies by immediately eliminating Colombian duties on more than 80% of U.S. exports. It will also open services markets and strengthen intellectual property rights.
According to the U.S. Chamber, U.S. exports to Colombia have risen four-fold over the past decade, topping $14 billion last year. Given the Colombian economy’s rapid growth, the agreement’s elimination of trade barriers is projected to spur significant business opportunities and job creation.
“Rather than rest on our laurels, we must continue to push forward with a bold job-creating trade agenda,” added Donohue. “The Chamber’s trade priorities include congressional approval of permanent normal trade relations with Russia, reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, and renewal of the president’s trade negotiating authority.”
The Chamber led the business community’s multi-year advocacy campaign for approval of the trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea; the latter entered into force on March 15.
Donohue is slated to visit Panama City to meet with government and business leaders after the Summit of the Americas. “The Chamber will continue to advocate for implementation of the trade agreement with Panama on a commercially sound basis as soon as possible,” he said.
The Chamber is also pushing for new trade agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is now under negotiation; possible trade accords with the European Union and several large emerging markets; and new or updated multilateral agreements on services, information technology goods, and trade facilitation.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.