Council Applauds Commitment to Implement Colombia FTA
- Category: News Room
- Published on Tuesday, 17 April 2012 11:08
The U.S. Grains Council hailed the announcement by President Obama and Colombian President Santos that the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will enter into force on May 15. Implementation will remove duties for corn, grain sorghum, barley and important co-products such as distiller's grains.
"Passage and implementation of the FTA has been a top priority of the Council and will do much to level the playing field and reinforce our efforts to recover market share of U.S. grains and co-products into this important market," said USGC Chairman Dr. Wendell Shauman.
Until 2008, Colombia was the fifth-largest market for U.S. coarse grains, which had been the beneficiary of Colombia's growing needs for imports. However, absent the U.S.-Colombia FTA, U.S. market share for coarse grains has fallen from more than 80 percent to currently less than 20 percent. This is attributable to preferential duties provided to Argentina and Brazil under the MERCOSUR-Andean Community Agreement with Colombia, which eroded the competitiveness of U.S. coarse grains exports, despite our close proximity and freight advantage to Colombia.
Colombia is experiencing strong economic growth and rising per capita income. As a result, the middle class continues to grow. This income growth will result in more consumption of animal proteins and increasing amounts of feed grains to sustain that demand.
"The U.S.-Colombia FTA provides a platform for consistent, fair, rules-based systems that demonstrates when trade works the world wins," said Shauman.
The Council will continue to work with both the U.S. and Colombian governments, as well as the Colombian feed milling and livestock and poultry industries, to maximize the competitive advantages provided under the trade agreement for U.S. grain exports in this critical export market.