CARTER RETURNS FROM COLOMBIA
House Conference Secretary John Carter (TX-31) released the following statement today after President Bush announced he will send the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement to Congress for a vote. Carter returned to the United States yesterday after traveling with U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab and other members of Congress to Colombia to highlight the importance of the pending trade agreement.
"Passing the Colombia Free Trade Agreement is critical to the state of our fragile economy. Doing so will knock down a trade barrier that benefits only Columbia and not the United States. The majority of Colombian goods face no tariffs when entering the United States, where American goods exported to Colombia face heavy tariffs, putting our Texas farmers, ranchers, workers and small businesses at a severe disadvantage.
"Traveling to Colombia with Ambassador Schwab gave me an opportunity to witness first-hand the benefits our global competitors reap because of their expanded exports to Colombia through trade agreements. The United States cannot afford to fall behind, and lack of action on this bill could create further economic uncertainty. President Uribe has made major progress to stabilize Colombia's booming economy and continue to have strong diplomatic relations with the U. S. Failure to pass this agreement would send the wrong message to those South American countries who are working to follow Colombia's example. I hope the Democratic Leadership will look at the consequences of delaying this bill and schedule an immediate vote on this critical agreement."