Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) today hailed the one-year anniversary of the U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement's (FTA) entry into force and touted the benefits it is already producing for the U.S. economy. Senator Baucus championed the U.S.-Colombia FTA in Congress, along with the Korea and Panama FTAs and Trade Adjustment Assistance, and helped lead the way for their bipartisan passage.
"The export gains the United States is seeing after only one year with the U.S.-Colombia trade agreement in place are just the beginning. The growing trade relationship between the U.S. and Colombia will continue to produce real results for American ranchers, farmers, businesses and workers," Senator Baucus said. "This is a success story for us to remember as we pursue trade agreements with the EU and our partners across the Pacific. These agreements are about supporting jobs in America -- that's the bottom line."
Between May 2012, when the FTA went into effect, and February 2013, U.S. goods exports to Colombia increased 20 percent to $15.9 billion. Agricultural exports to Colombia increased nearly 62 percent to $1.26 billion over the same timeframe. Among South-American countries, Colombia is the third-largest market for U.S. exports and the second-largest market for U.S. agricultural exports. As part of the FTA, Colombia reduced or eliminated tariffs on many products significant to the Montana economy, such as wheat, beef and other agricultural goods.
Colombia is also implementing the FTA's labor provisions, which are the strongest of any trade agreement in the world. Included in those provisions is a new Labor Action Plan, which one prominent labor group described as "the most important agenda for the labor movement" since Colombia's 1991 Constitution.