WASHINGTON – The Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA) between Colombia and the United States went into effect May 15, giving US agricultural exporters duty-free access on more than half of the products the US currently export to Colombia, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Also, virtually all remaining tariffs will be eliminated within 15 years.

“Estimates show that the tariff reductions in the US-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement will expand total US exports by more than $1.1 billion, supporting thousands of additional American jobs while increasing US GDP by $2.5 billion,” Vilsack said. “For agriculture, the agreement with South America's third-largest economy achieves two key trade objectives for the United States: it immediately provides vastly improved access to Colombia's market, and it levels the playing field with respect to third-country competitors.”

In 2011, the US exported 1.1 billion of agricultural products to Colombia, Vilsack said. US farmers and ranchers can expect to see exports grow by more than $370 million (or more than one-third) of the current total under the trade promotion agreement.

“Colombia will immediately eliminate duties on wheat, barley, soybeans, soybean meal and flour, high-quality beef, bacon, almost all fruit and vegetable products, wheat, peanuts, whey, cotton, and the vast majority of processed products,” Vilsack said. “The Colombia TPA also provides duty free tariff rate quotas (TRQ) on standard beef, chicken leg quarters, dairy products, corn, sorghum, animal feeds, rice, and soybean oil.

“Over the next few years, as additional barriers fall and more US businesses market products to Colombia's expanding economy, American agricultural exports will create new opportunities for our businesses, workers, farmers and ranchers, thereby supporting more and better jobs for Americans,” he added.