Conner Taking Congressional Delegation to Columbia

Trip may help move pending free trade agreement forward.

Published on: Oct 26, 2007

Acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner announced Thursday that he and U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab will be co-hosting a bipartisan Congressional delegation to Columbia.

"We intend to take members of Congress so that they can see and we can see in person the transformation of the Colombian people and their government and all that they have undertaken in recent years to revive their own economy and to reduce violence in that country," Conner said.
Labor issues and violence toward union leaders has been a significant hurdle for the pending Columbian Free Trade Agreement. Conner hopes this trip will move forward the agreement that offers many opportunities for American agriculture.

"You've heard us say many times that we believe the Colombia Free Trade Agreement does level the playing field for our producers," Conner said. "Virtually all of Columbia's ag exports to the U.S. come in duty-free; virtually none of our exports go down there duty-free. So this is very, very important effort for our own producers."

Further details about the delegation will be released later.