The long-awaited Trade Agreement with Colombia gained momentum Wednesday as President Obama announced an agreement has been reached. The agreement will now be sent to Congress to ratify.
The Corn Refiners Association applauded the accord. CRA President Audrae Erickson says it will provide a path forward for Congressional approval of the free trade agreement:
“Really, it addresses some of the issues that are outside of the food and agricultural sector, principally some of the objections that labor unions have been posing for some time. The White House needed to find a fast forward because in the end these agreements have to be passed by the US Congress and we need bi-partisan support. So, agreement by the Colombian administration to make greater strides in addressing labor issues is really what this accord is about.”
Expanding opportunities for U.S. cattlemen and women beyond our borders is a top priority for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. NCBA Manager of Legislative Affairs Kent Bacus says this announcement is an important step in that direction:
“Unfortunately, right now, US beef is hindered from sending a lot of products to Colombia because all of our products face and 80% tariff, one of the highest in the world. So, that’s really deterred anyone from wanting to send products down there. So, removing this tariff is going to offer another important market for us, and emerging market, and it will really help expand our export capabilities and prevent us from loosing market share to our competitors.”
Bacus notes Canada recently finalized an agreement with Colombia as the U.S. watched from the sidelines. Now that the Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement is getting the attention it deserves, Bacus is confident it will be ratified by Congress. He goes on to say this is going to be a great opportunity to expand US beef exports:
“This is a great opportunity to expand our beef exports. So, we’re excited that once congress takes up and passes this FTA with Colombia it’s going to tear down those trade barriers.”
Bacus says NCBA also wants Congress to act favorably on Trade Agreements with Panama and South Korea.