WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk on May 15 announced the entry into force of the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement.

“Today, the historic U.S.-Colombia trade agreement is in effect. It brings benefits to businesses of every size in both of our countries,” said Ambassador Kirk. “This is good news for U.S. entrepreneurs, workers, farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and service providers who are ready to export more U.S. goods and services to Colombia’s growing market. Similarly, it’s good news for Colombia, which stands to gain in terms of economic growth, jobs, and permanent access to the world’s largest market here in the United States."

American Soybean Association President Steve Wellman, a soybean farmer from Syracuse, Nebraska, U.S., noted that “The free trade agreement with Colombia holds a great deal of potential for America’s soybean farmers. The pact expands a valuable and growing export market for American soybeans, meal, oil and products that require soy inputs like dairy, meat and poultry. The agreement also helps us regain lost market share in Central and South America’s third largest economy.”

The agreement ensures that more than half of all U.S. 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 U.S. agricultural export commodity, totaling nearly 1.5 billion bushels in 2011, with a value of more than $22 billion. Last year, the U.S. 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.