US-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement Takes Effect May 15, 2012

On April 15, 2012, the USTR announced that the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement   (CTPA) will take effect on May 15, 2012. This announcement follows completion of work by the United States and Colombia to review each other's laws and regulations related to the implementation of the Agreement, as well as Colombia's steps to fulfill the Action Plan Related to Labor Rights. In preparation for the agreement, the United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk exchanged letters with officials from the Government of Colombia in which each country confirmed that it had completed its applicable legal requirements and procedures for the Agreement's entry into force.

Ron Kirk expects that "This agreement will provide American businesses, farmers and ranchers with significantly improved access to the third largest economy in South America. One month from today, the value of the U.S.-Colombia trade agreement will begin to be seen in lower tariffs on autos, consumer goods, agricultural commodities, machinery, and other exports from the United States, which will make our goods more competitive in the Colombian market. That means support for well-paying jobs at home." 

On May 15, 2012, over 80% of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial products to Colombia will become duty-free, including agricultural and construction equipment, building products, aircraft and parts, fertilizers, information technology equipment, medical scientific equipment, and wood. In addition, immediately more than half of U.S. exports of agricultural commodities to Colombia will become duty-free, including wheat, barley, soybeans, high-quality beef, bacon, and almost all fruit and vegetable products.

The CTPA is said to provide significant new access to Colombia's $180 billion services market: Colombia agreed to eliminate measures that prevented firms from hiring U.S. professionals, and to phase-out market restrictions in cable television.