April 07,2008

Grassley Urges Vote on U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Bill


To: Reporters and Editors
Re: U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement
Da: Monday, April 7, 2008

Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking member of the Committee on Finance, with Senate jurisdictionover international trade, today made the following comment on the need for congressionalconsideration of legislation implementing the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement.

“Exporters in the United States deserve better, fairer access to the Colombian market. Tothat end, the United States and Colombia signed a trade agreement more than a year ago, inNovember 2006. The agreement was revised last June to reflect a bipartisan consensus in Congress.Even so, we’re still waiting for Congress to take up the issue. While U.S. exporters wait, Colombianproducers have duty-free access to the United States. It’s a one-way street. Commercialrelationships help bring about other positive changes, too. This particular trade agreement is a wayto encourage more of the kind of reforms the Colombian government has worked to make inreducing violence against labor leaders and making the country’s labor practices more open tointernational scrutiny. There’s no good reason for continued delay on this trade agreement. Forthose who say Trade Adjustment Assistance should come before Colombia, those two pieces oflegislation can advance at the same time. Congress can walk and chew gum at the same time. I’llwork to help advance Trade Adjustment Assistance, but we also need to see a vote on the Colombiantrade agreement.”