NAM President John Engler on U.S.-Colombia FTA

By April 7, 2008Trade

A statement:

We dare not permit election year political posturing about process to compromise our commitment to free trade. The U.S. – Colombia Trade PromotionAgreement will expand U.S. manufacturing exports, create good jobs and help keep our economy growing. This is the best trade agreement ever and deserves bi-partisan support.

The President has worked diligently for many months with Congress to address their concerns. The clock has run out and now Congress must act to get the job done this year. When it is complete, Congressional leaders can justly claim they have done their part to make America more competitive in the global marketplace.

U.S. manufacturers are the most competitive in the world when allowed to compete on a level playing field. Free trade agreements are not the problem, they’re the solution.

One of out every five U.S. manufacturing jobs is tied to exports and U.S. companies that export create jobs nearly 20 percent faster than non-exporting companies. It is good for manufacturers, jobs and the economy as a whole to expand markets for our products.

The Colombia agreement will level the playing field for all U.S. exporters by immediately providing them nearly complete access to a $30 billion import market. Virtually all Colombia exports to the U.S. already enter the U.S. tariff free, while U.S. manufacturers currently face 14 percent tariffs on average for products entering that country.

This agreement will increase our annual exports to Colombia by more than $1 billion annually. That will mean more jobs in the U.S. and an increase of $2.5 billion in economic growth in a time when our economy needs a boost.

But there’s more to this agreement than just the clear economic advantages to the United States. Colombia is a stalwart ally of the United States that’s advancing democratic principles in a time when some other countries in the region are going the other way. To reject this agreement would be a slap in the face to our friends and would give encouragement to our detractors and opponents.

The Colombia agreement is a clear winner on every level, an agreement that should have the full support of everyone who wants to encourage economic growth and democratic values. We will do everything in our power to rally manufacturers and manufacturing workers in support of this deal, and we will make certain our legislators in Washington know the voters are watching what they vote.

This agreement is good for the U.S. and it’s good for Colombia; it is a time for serious public servants to step forward and do the right thing.

More data on the benefits of the Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement are available at

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