Following President Obama’s call for the U.S. to “pursue agreements with Panama and Colombia” in his State of the Union address this week, Colombian Vice President Angelino Garzón said in Washington DC that he is convinced there is a majority in Congress to approve the deal. “We hope and we stress that 2011 is the year the U.S. Congress approves the pact…there is no middle road on this,” according to Garzón.
The renewed focus on passage of the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement—originally signed in November 2006—is a high priority for U.S.-Colombian relations. It is also imperative for job creation in the United States. As noted by Eric Farnsworth in the newly published AQ, “the refusal of the U.S. to pass its own bilateral agreement with Colombia were the primary causes of the sharp drop in U.S. agricultural exports to Colombia.” He further warns of this continuing once the Colombia-Canada agreement comes into force.
An AQ interactive analysis also highlights the correlation, or lack of it, behind how members of Congress vote on free-trade agreements and the resulting increase in export benefits seen by the state due to passage. It presents state-by-state export values to Colombia, showing why passage of this agreement can help to boost local economies.
Currently, over 90 percent of U.S. imports from Colombia enter duty-free, but U.S. exports to Colombia face tariffs up to 35 percent.