CARTEGENA, Colombia, April 15 – President Barack Obama and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced this afternoon that a free trade agreement between the U.S. and Colombia will go into effect on May 15.


The announcement comes eight years after the U.S. and Colombia began negotiating the agreement. Many farmers and agribusinesses will benefit from the long-awaited deal, with key U.S. exports gaining duty-free access.


Colombia will immediately eliminate duties on wheat, barley, soybeans, soybean meal and flour, high-quality beef, bacon, almost all fruit and vegetable products, wheat, peanuts, whey, cotton, and the vast majority of processed products, according to the U.S. Trade Representatives Office.  The Agreement also provides duty free tariff rate quotas (TRQ) on standard beef, chicken leg quarters, dairy products, corn, sorghum, animal feeds, rice, and soybean oil.


“Today’s announcement is cause for celebration,” noted Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich. “During the half-decade of political struggles over the Colombia trade agreement, many doubted that we would ever reach this day.  One year ago, I led a bipartisan Congressional delegation to Colombia to express to President Santos our strong support for this agreement.  Several months later, the U.S. Administration sent the agreement to Congress for approval, and Congress passed the implementing bill by a huge margin.  Now the agreement is set to enter into force in one month.  I appreciate the significant effort that the administrations of both Presidents Obama and Santos invested in ensuring prompt implementation of the agreement after we approved it in October.  


Camp said the U.S. International Trade Commission estimated that the agreement will increase U.S. exports by $1.1 billion and increase U.S. GDP by $2.5 billion. 


“That means substantial U.S. job creation, which we so greatly need in this difficult economy.  Yet more is needed,” Camp said. “I look forward to continuing to work with my Congressional colleagues and with the Administration, pressing for an ambitious agenda of trade and investment expansion.”   

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