The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's executive vice president for government affairs has urged Congress and the Administration to work toward passage of the stalled free-trade agreement between the U.S. and Colombia. The U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement was signed by both countries in November of 2006 but has yet to be ratified by Congress. Lawmakers appear to have placed an indefinite hold on the measure, at least during the run-up to the presidential election. "We can't let today's unfortunate impasse on the Colombia trade agreement be the last word on this important economic issue," the U.S. Chamber's R. Bruce Josten said. "For the sake of American workers and farmers, we must move forward." Echoing his comments was Kurt Nagle, president and chief executive officer of the American Association of Port Authorities. He said the agreement "is an opportunity not only to expand the movement of goods and services between the U.S. and the second most populous country in South America, but it will also strengthen hemispheric ties and provide important economic benefits for U.S. exporters." Currently, AAPA said, more than 90 percent of Colombian exports enter the U.S. duty-free, while American exporters to Colombia face duties of up to 35 percent. Nagle called ratification of the treaty an important step toward creation of a Free Trade Area of the Americas. Meanwhile, the U.S. Commerce Department has created a screen ticker which highlights the nearly $1bn in tariffs reportedly imposed on U.S. exports to Colombia since the free trade agreement was signed. The ticker can be viewed at www.tradeagreements.gov
U.S. Chamber: http://www.uschamber.com
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