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U.S. Chamber Hails Progress on U.S.-Colombia Trade Deal

Tuesday, April 5, 2011 - 8:00pm

‘This Proves America Can Still Lead on Trade,’ Donohue Says

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce applauded today’s announcement that the United States has reached an agreement with Colombia on labor and judicial reforms that will open the door for Congressional approval of the long-pending U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement.

“Presidents Obama and Santos showed courage and pragmatism in striking this accord,” said U.S. Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue. “Passionate, bipartisan support in Congress for the trade agreement with Colombia was also critical to this breakthrough, as was the tireless work of Ambassador Kirk.”

“This proves the United States can still lead on trade,” Donohue added. “The Chamber will work closely with the White House and Congress to secure approval of the three pending free trade agreements in the weeks ahead.”

U.S. tariffs on Colombian manufactured goods averaged just 0.1% last year, but Colombian tariffs on U.S. manufactured goods averaged 15% — and even higher for U.S. agricultural products.

The U.S.-Colombia trade 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, which serves as secretariat for the Latin American Trade Coalition.

“We can’t afford further delay,” Donohue said. “Other nations are racing to clinch their own trade deals with Colombia and put American workers at a competitive disadvantage. U.S. farmers have already seen their share of Colombia’s agriculture market fall from about three-quarters two years ago to one-quarter today.”

A U.S. Chamber study warned that the United States will lose more than 380,000 jobs and $40 billion in export sales if the pending trade agreements suffer further delays.

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.

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