U.S. exporters and importers will be able to better tap the growing Colombian economy starting May 15 when the free trade agreement between the two countries takes effect.
President Obama formally announced the start date of the pact Sunday, after his administration said Colombia took the needed steps to improve labor conditions, the last hurdle to implementation of the agreement. The trade agreement, created under the administration of President George W. Bush, will remove duties on more than 80 percent of U.S. industrial and commercial exports, and about half of the duties on agriculture exports. Most U.S. imports from Colombia are already duty-free.
“This landmark agreement opens the door to new business opportunities, economic growth, and job creation in the U.S. and Colombia,” said Thomas Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Rather than rest on our laurels, we must continue to push forward with a bold job-creating trade agenda.”
U.S. exports to Colombia have quadrupled in the last 10 years and hit $14 billion last year, according to the Chamber. Bilateral trade reached nearly $30 billion, and the U.S bought about 38 percent of all Colombian exports, making it by far Colombia’s largest market.