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Public Statements

United States-Columbia Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. LUCAS. Mr. Speaker, I rise to voice my support for this free trade agreement on behalf of America's farmers and ranchers.

All three free trade agreements under consideration today are essential for our Nation's agricultural industry. Out of every $100 in agricultural sales, more than $25 comes from exports. So market access is critical to the success of our farmers and ranchers.

Colombia is particularly important to our producers because without a free trade agreement in place, we have begun to lose market access. Tariffs on American goods have made them more expensive and Colombians are choosing to buy other countries' products instead. Lost market access means lost income, lost jobs, and we cannot afford that.

Right now Colombia imposes duties on all American agricultural products. They range from 5 percent to 20 percent. Yet we still sell more than $830 million in agricultural products there. That's because America's farmers and ranchers produce high-quality crops and livestock, and those goods are in demand.

Under this agreement Colombia will eliminate tariffs on 70 percent of our exports. We can be sure that when American agricultural products are no longer subject to tariffs and become more cost competitive, we'll see substantial benefits. In fact, the Farm Bureau estimates we'll see 370 million more dollars in farm exports to Colombia annually.

While our farmers and ranchers will benefit from increased market access, they will not be alone. Farm exports create jobs throughout the economy in processing, packaging, transportation, just to name a few industries. A vote to pass the Colombia free trade agreement is a vote for job growth in all these sectors. It's a vote to create income and opportunity for our farmers and ranchers.

So I strongly urge my colleagues to support this free trade agreement and help keep America's agricultural industry competitive.

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