Execution of Free Trade Agreement with Colombia Attracts Praise from ASA

St. Louis, MO: The American Soybean Association (ASA) praises the upcoming implementation of the US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, which will take effect May 15, 2012.

ASA congratulates President Barack Obama, President Juan Manuel Santos, and the governments of the US and Colombia for working collaboratively to complete the review of the agreement, which will provide a boost for US soybean exports and other American agricultural products to Central and South America's third largest economy.

"The enactment of the free trade agreement with Colombia next month is a tremendous opportunity for soybean farmers, as it will expand a valuable export market for our products," said ASA first vice president Danny Murphy, a soybean farmer from Canton, MS. "We are making steady progress toward regaining lost market share in Colombia, and this agreement will markedly advance that progress. We applaud the efforts of the Obama and Santos Administrations in seeing the free trade agreement with Colombia enacted next month."

As part of the agreement, more than half of all US farm exports to Colombia—including soybeans and soybean meal and flour—will become duty-free, with virtually all of the remaining tariffs to be eliminated over the next 15 years. The agreement also provides duty free tariff rate quotas (TRQ) on soybean oil, as well as livestock and dairy exports that utilize soybean inputs.

Soybeans and soybean products are the largest US agricultural export commodity, totaling nearly 1.5 billion bushels in 2011, with a value of more than $22 billion. Last year, the US exported more than $182 million in soybeans and soybean products to Colombia, as part of $832 million in agricultural products. The International Trade Commission (ITC) estimates that the agreement will expand overall exports to Colombia by more than $1.1 billion and support thousands of additional American jobs.

ASA represents all US soybean farmers on domestic and international issues of importance to the soybean industry. ASA's advocacy efforts are made possible through the voluntary membership in ASA by more than 21,000 farmers in 31 states where soybeans are grown.