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Cotton industry urges prompt approval of US-Colombia FTA
04
Oct '11
The National Cotton Council welcomes the news that the enabling legislation necessary for Congress to approve the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) has been formally transmitted to Congress. The U.S. cotton industry urges immediate approval of the legislation by the House and Senate.

National Cotton Council members consistently have expressed support for Congressional approval of the Free Trade Agreement with the Republic of Colombia, which was signed in November 2006. The U.S. cotton industry has increased exports of cotton and cotton products under the provisions of the Andean Trade Preference and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA). However, approval of the FTA will enhance U.S. competitiveness and benefit farmers and manufacturers by removing the tariffs which are currently applied to U.S. products entering Colombia.

Colombia is an important export market for U.S. raw cotton. In 2010, the United States exported more than 230,000 bales of raw cotton to Colombia with an estimated value of $100 million. With an 80 percent market share, the United States is the primary supplier of imported cotton to the Colombian market. With the FTA in place, the United States is well positioned to capture a significant portion of growth in Colombia's demand for cotton fiber.

In addition, both Colombia and the United States benefit from significant two-way trade in cotton textile products. In 2010, textile exports in predominantly-cotton products from the United States to Colombia totaled $56 million. During that same year, the United States imported $165 million in predominantly-cotton textile products from Colombia. Under the provisions of the ATPDEA, Colombian apparel products, containing U.S. components, enter the United States duty-free.

However, the failure to approve the FTA in a timely manner and the uncertainty associated with the need to extend the ATPDEA while the Administration and Congress consider the FTA, has disrupted trade and caused U.S. exporters of cotton yarn and fabric to lose business to Asian sources.

The National Cotton Council is the central organization of the U.S. cotton industry representing growers, ginners, warehousemen, cottonseed merchandisers and processors, merchants, cooperatives and textile manufacturers whose primary business operations are located in 17 cotton producing states.

U.S. cotton growers produce a crop with an annual farm-gate value in excess of $5 billion. The industry and its suppliers, together with the cotton product/manufacturers, account for approximately 200,000 jobs and generate total annual economic activity in access of $100 billion.

National Cotton Council

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