United States-Colombia Free Trade Agreement

The United States-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (Tratado de Libre Comercio entre Colombia y Estados Unidos (TLC)), is a proposed international trade treaty between the United States and Colombia. It is also known as the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement(CTPA).

In May 2004, the United States initiated free trade agreement negotiations with Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador. The United States concluded negotiations with Colombia in February 2006 and the CTPA was signed on November 22, 2006. After, based on "the New Trade Policy Template", a bipartisan agreement, both countries negotiated a Protocol of Amendment that was signed on June 28, 2007.

Colombia’s Congress approved the CTPA and the Protocol of Amendment in 2007. Currently, the Agreement is undergoing a constitutionally mandated court review. The United States is seeking congressional approval of the CTPA in 2008; however, it is very unlikely that it will come to a vote in that year. [cite news|url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/11/AR2008091103869_2.html|title=A Leader in Industry Relations|last=Kamen|first=Al|date=2008-9-12|publisher=Washington Post|accessdate=2008-09-12]

The CTPA is a comprehensive trade agreement which, if ratified, would eliminate tariffs and other barriers in goods and services trade between the UnitedStates and Colombia. cite web|url=http://www.nationalaglawcenter.org/assets/crs/RS22419.pdf|title=U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement|last=Villarreal|first=M. Angeles|date=September 21, 2006|publisher=Congressional Research Service|accessdate=2008-09-10]

Economic relationship

The United States is Colombia’s leading trading partner. In 2005, 39% of Colombia’s exports went to the United States, and 29% of Colombia’s imports were supplied by the United States. The second most significant trading partner for Colombia is Venezuela, accounting for 7% of Colombia’s imports and 10% of Colombia’s exports. Other significant trading partners for Colombia are Mexico, Ecuador, Germany, and Brazil.

Colombia accounts for less than 1% of total U.S. trade. Colombia is the 28th largest U.S. export market ($5.41 billion in 2005) and the 31st largest source of U.S. imports($8.85 billion in 2005). The dominant U.S. import item from Colombia is crude oil (38% of U.S. imports from Colombia in 2005), followed by coal (7% of total), and otherpetroleum oils (6% of total). The leading U.S. export items are corn (4% of U.S. exports to Colombia in 2005), vinyl chloride (4% of total), and office and data processingmachinery parts (3% of total). U.S. imports have increased notably since 1996, from $4.27 billion in 1996 to $8.85 billion in 2005, a 107% increase. The U.S.trade deficit with Colombia was $3.43 billion in 2005.

Congressional approval

Process in Colombia

The agreement was signed on November 22, 2006, was submitted to the Colombian Congress by President Alvaro Uribe on November 30, 2006. The Bill was debated and voted in a joint session on April 25, 2006. The House Floor approved it on June 5, 2007 (Yeas 85 Nays 10) and the Senate Floor vote on June 14, 2007 (Yeas 55 Nays 3). Finally, the CTPA became public law - "Ley 143" - on July 4,2007.

The Protocol of Amendment, signed on June 28, 2007, was submitted to the Colombian Congress by, Uribe on July 20 of 2007. The Bill was approved in a joint session on August 29, 2007 and voted by the House Floor on September 25, 2007 (Yeas 84 - Nays 3). After, the Senate Floor approved the Bill on October 30, 2007 (Yeas 54 - Nays 16). Finally, the CTPA became public Law - "Ley 1116"- on November 21, 2007.

The Agreement is undergoing a constitutionally mandated court review, according to Colombian regulations.

Process in the U.S.

President Bush sent legislation to implement the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement to Congress for its approval on April 7, 2007. Since then, there has been a series of delays that has not brought the agreement to a vote.

Key Provisions of the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement

Market Access

Upon implementation, the agreement would eliminate duties on 80% of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial products to Colombia. An additional 7% of U.S. exports would receive duty-free treatment within five years of implementation. Remaining tariffs would be eliminated ten years after implementation. Colombia will join the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Information Technology Agreement (ITA), which would remove Colombia’s trade barriers to information technology products.

In agriculture, the agreement would grant duty-free treatment immediately to certain farm products from both countries, including high quality beef, cotton, wheat, and soybean meal. Other products that would receive immediate duty-free treatment are key fruits and vegetables, including apples, pears, peaches, and cherries, and many processed food products, including frozen french fries and cookies. Some other products would receive improved market access; these include pork, beef, corn, poultry, rice, fruits and vegetables, processed products, and dairy products. The United States and Colombia worked together to resolve sanitary and phytosanitary barriers to trade in agriculture, including food safety inspection procedures for beef, pork, and poultry. These commitments are reportedly written in two separate side letters on sanitary and phytosanitary measures that would be attached to the FTA.

ee also

* Peru-United States Free Trade Agreement
* Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act

References

External links

* [http://www.colombiaemb.org Embassy of Colombia]
* [http://www.coltrade.org/ The Colombian Government Trade Bureau]
* [http://www.usitc.gov/ext_relations/news_release/2006/er0915dd1.htm U.S. International Trade Commission Press Release]
* [http://www.opencrs.com/document/RL32770/ Congressional Research Service Report on Andean Free Trade Agreement, including Peru TPA]
* [http://discoursedb.org/wiki/Colombia-United_States_Free_Trade_Agreement Colombia-United States Free Trade Agreement] at Discourse DB
* [http://www.ustr.gov/assets/Document_Library/Fact_Sheets/2007/asset_upload_file363_13072.pdf Brief Summary of the Colombia Free Trade Agreement]
* [http://www.ustr.gov/assets/Document_Library/Fact_Sheets/2007/asset_upload_file224_13073.pdf Fact Sheets Detailed Summary of the Colombia Free Trade Agreement]
* [http://www.ustr.gov/Trade_Agreements/Bilateral/Colombia_FTA/Final_Text/Section_Index.html Full Text of the Agreement (English)]
* [http://trade.gov/video/index.asp Video talking about the reasons for a FTA with Colombia - Under Secretary of Commerce, Mr. Chris. Padilla)]
* [http://www.latinbusinesschronicle.com/app/article.aspx?id=2406 May 20, 2008 McCain: Colombia FTA Benefits U.S.]
* [http://www.coltrade.org/fta/COLOMBIA%20UNIONS%20IN%20FAVOR%20OF%20FTA.pdf May 14, 2008 - Colombian's leading productive sector trade unions and their members strongly support the U.S. - Colombia TPA. Here are their testimonies]
* [http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/08_20/b4084076559318.htm?chan=search May 8, 2008 - Businessweek "Cheap Shots Over Free Trade"]
* [http://republican.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Multimedia.VideoOfSenate&ContentRecord_id=c47b69ce-bfbc-9884-33ff-83d3f8fa536f May 7, 2008 - U.S. Senate "U.S. - Colombia Trade Agreement Good for American Jobs"]
* [http://www.coltrade.org/fta/docs/050608%20-%20Schwab%20remarks%20to%20Peterson%20Institute.pdf May 6, 2008 - USTR Ambassador Schwab remarks to the Peterson Institute. "I call on the Congressional leadership to bring the Colombia FTA to a vote. Let’s move forward with our agenda"]
* [http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=anLyWaQ6fm_Y May 6, 2008 - Bloomberg "Canada Pushes Colombia Trade Agreement, as U.S. Deal Languishes"]


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