One and a half million Colombian flowers were sent to the United States on May 14 as the first shipment under the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement, which goes into force today. The United States is the largest market for Colombia's exports, representing nearly 40 percent of the Colombian export market. The United States remains the largest supplier to the Colombian market, with Colombian imports from the United States in 2011 totaling $13.7 billion, or one-quarter of Colombia's imports.
Under the new agreement, 80 percent of all industrial and manufactured products exported from the United States to Colombia will be duty free, effective immediately. This includes agricultural and construction equipment, building products, aircraft and parts, fertilizers, information technology equipment, medical scientific equipment and wood. Also, more than half of U.S. exports of agricultural commodities to Colombia become duty-free, including wheat, barley, soybeans, high-quality beef, bacon, and almost all fruit and vegetable products. The agreement also provides significant new access to Colombia's $180 billion services market, supporting increased opportunities for U.S. service providers. According to the International Trade Commission, the agreement will lead to an increase in U.S. GDP of $2.5 billion.
"Today, the historic U.S.-Colombia trade agreement is in effect. It brings benefits to businesses of every size in both of our countries," United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk said. "This is good news for U.S. entrepreneurs, workers, farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and service providers who are ready to export more U.S. goods and services to Colombia's growing market. Similarly, it's good news for Colombia, which stands to gain in terms of economic growth, jobs, and permanent access to the world's largest market here in the United States.""This historic trade agreement also affirms the strong and deep relationship between the United States and Colombia, one of our closest friends and allies in the hemisphere," Ambassador Kirk continued.
Colombia is a steadfast strategic partner of the United States and a leader in the region. The agreement is a historic development in the strong relationship between our two countries, and it reflects our commitment to support democracy and economic growth in Colombia.