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Bi-partisan Delegation Headed to Colombia

Schafer leads a group of Congressional members on trip this weekend.

A Congressional delegation will leave July 18 for Cartegena, Colombia on a trip to showcase the country's advances in democracy, security and human rights. Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer will lead the bi-partisan group and try to emphasize the importance of ratifying the pending free trade agreement with Colombia.

"Colombia is an important friend and trading partner of the United States," Schafer said. "This trip will provide Congressional members with an invaluable opportunity to see first hand the Colombian government's success in bringing about stability and economic growth, and how the CTPA will help to continue this progress. We will also be able to see new markets for U.S. agricultural exports."

Trade benefits for U.S. agricultural producers in this market will be achieved through immediate elimination of variable tariffs, with half of U.S. exports entering duty-free as soon as the CTPA is implemented, most tariffs being phased out in 15 years, and all within 19 years.

In calendar year 2007, the United States shipped a record $1.2 billion worth of agricultural products to Colombia. Colombia is also an important agricultural supplier to the U.S. marketplace. Major U.S. imports from Colombia include coffee, nursery products, cut flowers and bananas and plantains.

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