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U.S. Says Colombia FTA “Making Good” on Promise of Economic Benefits

Thursday, May 16, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative released May 15 a fact sheet claiming that one year after it took effect the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement is “making good on its promise of supporting more American jobs, increasing U.S. exports for manufacturers, farmers and ranchers, and enhancing U.S. competitiveness.” Specific achievements include the following.

Goods Exports. From May 2012 through March 2013, U.S. goods exports to Colombia were up 20% from a year before to $15.9 billion. Export increases in specific industries included 129% for processed foods (to $694 million), 61% for transportation equipment (to $1.4 billion), 46% for petroleum and coal products (to $3.6 billion), and 17% for electronics (to $2.3 billion).

Agricultural Exports. The U.S. has seen export increases of 467% for soybeans (to $118.6 million), 214% for dairy products (to $24.7 million), 66% for pork (to $45.2 million), 36% for grapes (to $9.3 million) and 15% for wheat (to $186.4 million). USTR states that the FTA has also “helped us resolve longstanding regulatory issues that had impeded greater trade between our countries.”

Labor. In light of concerns regarding the killing of labor leaders and inadequate enforcement of workers’ rights in Colombia, the U.S. and Colombia developed an action plan on these issues before the FTA took effect. USTR states that there have been “important advances” in implementing this action plan over the past year, including “a dramatic reduction in the use of illegal cooperatives, partly the result of unprecedented fines against companies in violation of new laws; the passage of new labor laws that expand the application of fines to address other forms of illegal contracting; and increased efforts to reduce violence and impunity, including by strengthening protection programs and improving the management and prosecution of labor homicide cases.”

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