The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 16, 2008

Fact Sheet: Creating New Opportunities for Consumers and Businesses Around the World
President Bush Signs Legislation To Extend The Andean Trade Preference Act And Urges Congress To Level The Playing Field For American Workers By Approving The U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement

     Fact sheet President Bush Signs H.R. 7222, the Andean Trade Preference Act Extension
     Fact sheet In Focus: International Trade

Today, President Bush signed legislation to extend the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA). ATPA ensures that products from several of our trading partners in South America continue to enter the United States duty-free. With this extension, our Nation is demonstrating our commitment to continued economic growth in our hemisphere and a global system based on free and open trade. Congress should build on this commitment and ensure duty-free treatment for products made by American workers, farmers, and ranchers by approving the U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement.

The U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Will Level The Playing Field For American Businesses And Workers

Now that Members of Congress have ensured duty-free access for South American products entering U.S. markets, they also need to ensure duty-free access for American products entering South American markets. More than 90 percent of imports from Colombia enter our country duty-free, but the approximately 10,000 American businesses that export to Colombia – including approximately 8,000 small and mid-sized businesses – face tariffs as high as 35 percent, with rates even higher for some agricultural products. When the Colombia FTA takes effect, Colombia will immediately eliminate tariffs on more than 80 percent of U.S. exports of industrial and consumer goods and will, over time, eliminate tariffs on 100 percent of U.S. exports.

The U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Advances Our National Security

It is in America's interest to stand by Colombia and the best way to do so is for Congress to approve the Colombia free trade agreement. Over the past six years, President Uribe has transformed his country from the brink of a failing state to a stable democracy with a growing economy. He has partnered with America in the fight against drugs and terror and responded to virtually every request from Congress, including revising the agreement to include some of the most rigorous labor and environmental protections in history.

# # #

Return to this article at:

Click to print this document