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May 19, 08

NEWS / $1,000,000,000 Tax on U.S. Exports to Colombia

Congress Allows Colombian Goods Duty-Free Access to U.S., While American Exports Pay Tariffs

WASHINGTON—Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez today released the following statement regarding the estimated tariffs imposed on American-made goods exported to Colombia. Since the signing of the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA), American goods have faced more than an estimated $1 billion in Colombian tariffs. Tariffs are taxes that make American goods more expensive and less competitive.

“Yesterday at 8:51 p.m., the Colombia Tariff Ticker rolled to a staggering $1 billion. The ticker tracks the estimated tariffs imposed on American-made goods entering Colombia since the signing of the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement 531 days ago. The Agreement would remove tariffs on U.S. exports to Colombia if approved by Congress. Every single second that goes by without a vote on the Agreement costs roughly $22, and nearly $2 million every day.

“For 16 years, Congress has decided to allow Colombian goods into the U.S. market duty-free giving Colombian workers access to the U.S. market, while U.S. workers face barriers to Colombia. Yet, the House’s recent rules change has effectively shelved the very trade agreement that would remove Colombia’s tariffs on American products and agriculture. Changing the rules in the middle of the game has forced U.S. workers, farmers and ranchers to the sideline, and denied them the level playing field they deserve.

“American-made exports, up nearly 13 percent last year, are providing a critical spark to our economy at a time when American families are facing economic challenges. Congress needs to pass the U.S.-Colombia TPA so we can lift the billion-dollar burden on our exports and institutionalize permanent, fair, and two-way free trade with Colombia.”

Today, more than 90 percent of Colombian products enter the United States duty free, as they have for more than 16 years with strong Congressional support under the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA). The “Colombia Tariff Ticker” highlights the unfair playing field on which American exporters currently operate, and likewise the money they could save if Congress approves the U.S.-Colombia TPA.

Colombia is the second-largest market for U.S. agriculture in the Western Hemisphere after the NAFTA market. The U.S.-Colombia TPA will be of particular benefit to U.S. small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). More than 10,000 U.S. companies export to Colombia, of which 8,500 are SMEs.

The tariffs paid by U.S. exporters to Colombia displayed on the Colombia Tariff Ticker are an estimate based on data from the World Trade Atlas and Colombian tariff schedules. This includes the best estimate of the variable effect of Colombia’s agricultural price bands. To visit and download the Colombia Tariff Ticker, visit trade.gov.



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