Colombia Makes Case for Ratified US-Colombia FTA

by 5m Editor
4 February 2011, at 9:27am

COLOMBIA - Representatives from Colombia’s feed milling, swine and wheat industries visited Capitol Hill last week in an effort to educate congressional aides on the importance of a ratified free trade agreement (FTA) between the US and Colombia. The primary message they shared was the importance of the FTA to the Colombian agricultural sector.

“They noted that Colombia has established a strong trading relationship with the United States for agricultural commodities and with the close geographical proximity to their market they want to continue and build on that relationship,” said Floyd Gaibler, USGC director of trade policy. “The visiting team explained to congressional aides that while the United States has been a reliable supplier of grains (particularly corn) to Colombia in the past, the 15 per cent tariff has raised prices on imported products forcing the Colombian buyers to look for supplies elsewhere.”

Colombia is a member of the South American trade bloc, Mercosur, which imposes a mere 6 per cent tariff on agricultural imports. Because of the lower tariff rate Mercosur offers, especially in light of the pending US-Colombia FTA, Colombia has started to source corn from regional neighbors Argentina and Brazil.

This has resulted in a decreased US market share of corn exports in the country, down from 83 percent in 2008 to 18 percent in 2010.

“Members of the visiting Colombia team told congressional staff members that a ratified FTA with the United States would be positive for both countries involved,” Mr Gaibler said. “For Colombia, it would mean quality feed grains at affordable prices and lower costs for their consumers of livestock and dairy products. For the United States, a ratified FTA would ensure the United States remains a long-term supplier to Colombia in what is becoming a very competitive global market.”

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