U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Enters into Force Next Month Print E-mail

U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Enters into Force Next Month

Rice Industry to Benefit from Agreement

WASHINGTON – President Obama and Colombian President Santos Juan Manuel Santos announced yesterday that the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement will enter into force on May 15.  The agreement will expand U.S. goods exports by more than $1.1 billion and provide duty free access for U.S. goods in sectors from manufacturing to agriculture.

The free trade agreement with Colombia offers important short- and long-term economic benefits to U.S. rice producers, millers and exporters.  Upon implementation, a duty-free tariff rate quota (TRQ) for 79,000 metric tons (milled equivalent basis) of U.S. rice will be established.  Further, the Colombia agreement provides that the net revenue from auctioning licenses to export under the TRQ be split evenly between the U.S. and Colombian rice industries.

“This is long-awaited good news for the United States and for the U.S rice industry, which stands to gain a sizeable export market in Colombia,” USA Rice Chairman Jackie Loewer said.  “We also look forward to the establishment of the Export Trading Company so that funds generated by the TRQ could be used to benefit  the activities of the six rice-state research/research and promotion boards.  Access to those net revenues will provide long-term resources to ensure that U.S. rice remains competitive.”

Colombia currently imposes an 80 percent duty on imported rice.  U.S. rice sales have been sporadic, surging only in response to production shortfalls.

The USA Rice Federation will continue to press for the removal of foreign trade barriers to U.S. rice.  Nearly 50 percent of the U.S. rice crop is exported and global rice trade is one of the most politically sensitive commodity markets.  Trade agreements work for U.S. rice, and have opened or expanded markets in Mexico, Central America, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.

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The USA Rice Federation is the global advocate for all segments of the U.S. rice industry with a mission to promote and protect the interests of producers, millers, merchants and allied businesses.