Ag to benefit from Colombia free trade agreement

04/24/2012 11:54:00 AM
Vicky Boyd

Beginning May 15, tariffs on many U.S. products, including fruit and vegetables, will enter Colombia without tariffs.

The tariff eliminations are part of the U.S.-Columbia Trade Promotion Agreement, signed into law by President Barack Obama back in october 2011.

More than half of the tariffs on agricultural products will be eliminated on May 15, with the remainder scheduled to phase out during the next five years, according to the agreement.

Currently, the tariffs range from 5 percent to 20 percent, and no agricultural product enters that country duty-free.

In 2010, the United States exported $34 million worth of fruits and tree nuts to Colombia, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In addition, the United States exported $15 million of fresh and processed vegetables and products to the South American country in 2010.

For example, potatoes—including french fries and dehydrated and fresh potatoes—currently carry a 20 percent tariff.

That will be eliminated on May 15.

Even with the duty, Columbia imported $4.2 million worth of U.S. french fries last year, a 76 percent increase over 2010, according to the Washington State Potato Commission.

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