The U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement: Securing Economic Growth and American Leadership | Business Roundtable


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With the fourth largest economy in Latin America and as part of a new class of emerging-market economies, Colombia represents new growth and job creation opportunities for American exporters and service providers.

  • Passage of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) together with the U.S.-Korea and U.S.-Panama FTAs will create an estimated 250,000 jobs, and failure to pass these agreements could cost nearly 400,000 American jobs.
  • The pending U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) would immediately provide duty-free access to the Colombian market for more than 80 percent of U.S. consumer and industrial goods exports, with remaining tariffs phased out in 10 years.
  • Colombia would also grant immediate duty-free access to more than two-thirds of current U.S. agricultural exports, with the remaining tariffs phased out over time.
  • The agreement would also strengthen intellectual property and investor protections, open services markets, and enhance transparency in government procurement.
  • By removing Colombia’s import duty on U.S. goods and services, as well as other non-tariff barriers on U.S. exports, the FTA has the potential to give U.S. exporters a competitive edge over imports from other international suppliers.

What's at Stake

U.S. Export Growth and Job Creation in Jeopardy

Although Colombia has doubled its agricultural imports in the last five years, the U.S. has seen its market share shrink by half as foreign investors use their FTAs to gain an advantage over U.S. farmers.

  • In 2008, American farmers held a 46 percent share of the Colombian market; today that share has diminished to 21 percent.
  • In the absence of an FTA, the average tariff paid by American farmers shipping their goods to Colombia is 16.9 percent. The new free trade agreements Colombia has completed with other countries like Argentina and Brazil (Mercosur), Canada and the European Union, are clearly hurting U.S. exporters.

Nearly a decade ago, Colombia had only two FTAs with five countries. Today, with 11 FTAs in place with 47 countries around the world, Colombia is rapidly expanding its trade ties with leading economic powers.

  • In 2000, China was Colombia’s 12th largest trade partner. Today, China is the second biggest trade partner for Colombia – behind the United States.
  • Colombia has become an increasingly important market for U.S. goods and services, and bilateral trade relations have continued to expand – benefiting exporters, workers and consumers in both countries. The agreement will help the United States to achieve the goal of boosting U.S. economic growth through exports.
  • On August 15, Canada's FTA with Colombia went into effect, giving Canadian exporters a cost advantage over U.S. exporters. Failure to pass the U.S.-Colombia FTA is jeopardizing American exports and jobs. 

U.S. Foreign Policy Interests Promoted

The United States has committed nearly $8 billion to Colombia to support improved security, law enforcement and drug interdiction efforts, and to help Colombia in its ongoing transformation.

  • The success of this partnership is apparent. What was nearly a failed state a decade ago is now a stable and secure nation with a growing economy and a renewed commitment to peace and justice.

The U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement is vital to U.S. foreign policy, national security and economic growth, and failure to act on it undermines vital U.S. national interests.