Earlier this week the U.S-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement, or Colombia TPA, entered into force, opening new possibilities for U.S. trade with the third-largest economy in Central and South America. The Colombia TPA is expected to boost U.S. dairy exports through immediate open and unlimited access for most whey and lactose products, as well as duty-free access for sizable amounts of cheese and skim milk powder, among other dairy products. The estimated benefit to the U.S. dairy industry over the first several years of the implemented agreement is an additional $25 million in exports per year, according to an International Dairy Foods Association news release.
The value of U.S. dairy exports to Colombia was $6 million in 2010.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the following statement May 15:
"Beginning today, U.S. agricultural exporters receive duty-free access on more than half of the products we currently export to Colombia, and virtually all remaining tariffs will be eliminated within 15 years.
"Estimates show that the tariff reductions in the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement will expand total U.S. exports by more than $1.1 billion, supporting thousands of additional American jobs while increasing U.S. GDP by $2.5 billion.
"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.
"Last year, the United States exported $1.1 billion of agricultural products to Colombia. Under the agreement, American farmers and ranchers can expect to see their exports grow by more than $370 million, or more than one-third of the current total.
"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.
"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 U.S. 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."
Click here to read Vilsack's full statement. PD