Bono Mack Decries Political Move to Block Colombia FTA
Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (CA-45) today criticized the House Majority's move to block a vote on the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (CFTA). Passed by a vote of 224-195, this procedural move indefinitely delays consideration of the CFTA. Pointing to the multi-billion dollar agricultural and manufacturing industries in Riverside County, Bono Mack condemned this action and urged for timely consideration of this agreement that could directly benefit local businesses.
"The U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement is good for our economy and our national security," said Bono Mack. "It would help create jobs and level the playing field for American products - such as fresh fruit and other agricultural exports that thrive in our region.
"Currently, none of our agricultural exports benefit from duty-free access to the Colombian market, while almost all of Colombia's agricultural exports enter the U.S. market duty free.
"Agriculture is a key industry in Riverside County, yielding over $1.1 billion dollars and bringing more than $3.8 billion into the local economy. Farm goods - such as those exported from our region - stand to prosper from a more favorable trade agreement with Colombia."
Bono Mack notes that in spite of high tariffs on most agricultural products, the U.S. exported a record $1.2 billion in farm products to Colombia in 2007. Also, the Inland Empire, one of the fasting growing regions in the nation, already supports over 3,000 manufacturing businesses. According to Bono Mack, these industries will only continue to grow and benefit from a more fair trade relationship with Colombia, who imported over $321 million of merchandise from California in 2007.
"At a time when our economy needs it most, we should enact reasonable policies that benefit American businesses and workers and help our nation stay competitive with the rest of the world," said Bono Mack.
"This political maneuver to block the CFTA will not only hurt American businesses, but it will also jeopardize our national security. This agreement would help build stability and democracy in the region by strengthening ties with Colombia - a country that has been a valuable ally in the fight against drugs and anti-democratic regimes."