Proposed U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement: Background and Issues [June 29, 2011] [open pdf - 362KB]
"The proposed U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement, also called the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (CFTA), was signed by the United States and Colombia on November 22, 2006. The agreement must be approved by the U.S. Congress before it can enter into force. The Colombian Congress approved the agreement in June 2007 and again in October 2007, after it was modified to include new provisions after the May 10, 2007, understanding between congressional leaders and the Bush Administration. If approved by the U.S. Congress, the agreement would immediately eliminate duties on 80% of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial products to Colombia. Most remaining tariffs would be eliminated within 10 years of implementation. The agreement also contains other provisions in services, investment, intellectual property rights protection, labor, and the environment. About 90% of U.S. imports from Colombia enter the United States duty-free under trade preference programs or through normal trade relations, while U.S. exports to Colombia face duties of 20% or more. […] The congressional debate surrounding the agreement has mostly centered on violence, labor, and human rights issues in Colombia. Numerous Members of Congress oppose the agreement because of concerns about violence against union members and other terrorist activity in Colombia. However, other Members of Congress support the CFTA and take issue with these charges, stating that Colombia has made progress in recent years to curb the violence in the country. They also contend that the agreement would open the Colombian market for U.S. exporters. Other policymakers argue that Colombia is a crucial ally of the United States in Latin America and that if the trade agreement is not passed, it may lead to further violence in the region. For Colombia, a free trade agreement with the United States is part of its overall economic development strategy."
CRS Report for Congress, RL34470
United States. Department of State, Foreign Press Centers, Bureau of Public Affairs: http://www.fpc.state.gov/