The House of Representatives passed an extension of the Andean Trade Preference Act last Tuesday. The Senate followed suit and President Bush signed the 10-month extension of the 17-year old agreement designed to improve trade with several South American countries.
Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer says the extension is an important interim measure that allows work to continue on getting Congressional approval of the Columbian Trade Promotion Agreement.
"The U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement will replace one-way with two-way free and fair trade by providing U.S. farmers, ranchers and businesses with duty-free access to that market," Schafer says. "Opening the Colombian market and increasing our two-way trade will strengthen our economic ties and also promote increased stability that will benefit all the nations of the Western Hemisphere."
Currently more than 90% of Columbian goods are imported duty-free into the U.S. while tariffs limit U.S. access to the Columbian market.