The U.S. – Colombia Free Trade Agreement is one step closer to Congressional action. According to the Obama administration, Colombia has agreed to do more to protect union leaders from assassination. Today, President Obama will meet with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. The Presidents are expected to approve the agreed-upon Action Plan Related to Labor Rights and to discuss next steps with regard to the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement. The administration hopes concerns in Congress will be quelled and the agreement will pass. Under the agreement, more than 80-percent of American consumer and industrial goods would become duty-free immediately, with the remainder having duties phased out over 10 years. Regarding agricultural goods, more than half of American products will become duty-free, with duties ending for the remainder over 15 years.
The American Soybean Association says the Colombia FTA will immediately eliminate tariffs ranging from 5-20 percent on soybeans, soybean meal and soybean flour, and phase-out the 24 percent tariffs for crude soybean oil over 10 years and refined soybean oil over 5 years. Also, the agreement will provide immediate duty-free access for crude soybean oil through a 31,200-ton quota with four percent annual growth.