About the Agreements
On February 27, 2006, the United States and Colombia announced that they had concluded their negotiations for the Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (CTPA). This process began in May 2004 with talks between the U.S., Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia. Peru and the U.S. concluded a bilateral process in December 2005. The Office of the Trade Representative reports that negotiations are ongoing with Ecuador, and Bolivia could enter an agreement at a later date.
The agreement between the United States and Colombia will expand trade between the two countries, eliminate tariffs and other barriers to goods and services, and promote economic growth.
According to U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman, "The free trade agreement with Colombia will generate export opportunities for U.S. agriculture, industry, and service providers, and help create jobs in the United States. The agreement will help foster economic development in Colombia, and contribute to efforts to counter narco-terrorism, which threatens democracy and regional stability."
Under the CTPA, 80% of U.S. consumer and industrial products and more than two-thirds of current U.S. farm exports will enter Colombia duty-free immediately. The agreement will also strengthen intellectual property and investor protections, open services markets, and enhance transparency in government procurement.
Ambassador Portman added: "An agreement with Colombia is an essential component of our regional strategy to advance free trade within our hemisphere, combat narco-trafficking, build democratic institutions, and promote economic development. In addition to eliminating tariffs, Colombia will remove barriers to trade in services, provide a secure, predictable legal framework for U.S. investors operating in Colombia, provide for effective enforcement of labor and environmental laws, protect intellectual property, and provide an effective system to settle disputes. Also, since many products from Colombia already enter the U.S. market duty-free under the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA), the agreement will level the playing field and make duty-free treatment a two-way street."
Colombia FTA, Office of the United States Trade Representative
The Case for the U.S. – Colombia Free Trade Agreement, Office of the United States Trade Representative
In December 2006, the U.S. and Panamanian governments announced they had completed negotiations on a Trade Promotion Agreement "with the understanding that it is subject to further discussions regarding labor," according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
The agreement between the United States and Panama will expand trade between the two countries, eliminate tariffs and other barriers to goods and services, and promote economic growth. This year the Panamanian government will start taking bids on the largest public works project since the Three Gorges Dam in China–the expansion of the Panama Canal–a project with the impressive estimated cost of $5.25 billion. The investor protections and procurement provisions in the TPA give American companies an advantage over foreign competitors and will put them on equal ground with Panamanian companies on this project which is slated to begin in 2008 and finish in 2014.
United States Trade Representative, Ambassador Susan Schwab has commented that: "This historic agreement between two good friends and close partners will promote economic growth and development in both of our countries. Panama is an important ally in the region. We are pleased to be able to advance our long-standing friendship and deepen our trading relations with Panama." She continued on to say, "This comprehensive agreement significantly cuts trade barriers and expands opportunities for American workers, consumers, farmers and ranchers, manufacturers, and service providers."
Under the Panama TPA, 88% of U.S. consumer and industrial products and more than half of current U.S. farm exports will enter Panama duty-free immediately. The agreement will also strengthen intellectual property and investor protections, open services markets, and enhance transparency in government procurement.
Ambassador Schwab added: "The free trade agreement announced today expands an already vibrant trade and investment relationship, and is another important milestone in President Bush's strategy of building strategic ties in the Western Hemisphere. The agreement will provide new economic opportunities for U.S. exporters, including significant opportunities to participate in the $5.25 billion expansion plan for the Panama Canal."
Panama TPA, Office of the United States Trade Representative in December, 2006.
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