The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA®) urged Congress to swiftly pass the Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and level the playing field for American exports. Yesterday, President Bush announced he would send the agreement to Congress tomorrow. The following statement may be attributed to CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro:
"Colombia is our fourth largest trading partner in Latin America and the FTA eliminates the high tariffs on American exports. It opens up the world's second-largest Spanish speaking country to American products, and will result in a billion dollar annual increase in our technology and other exports.
"The agreement is nearly identical to the Peru agreement which passed overwhelmingly in December. More, it builds a stronger relationship with a major country that is being courted by left-leaning Latin American leaders. The Colombia FTA also contains historic and enforceable guarantees of worker rights and environmental protections.
"Many of CEA's member companies are export-driven small businesses. A typical example is Mitek Corp., which manufactures audio products in five U.S. states and exports to Colombia. Today, Mitek faces high Colombian tariffs on their products. Meanwhile, Colombia's goods enter our marketplace duty-free under existing laws. The Colombia Free Trade Agreement will level the playing field by eliminating these tariffs, giving American companies and their workers a chance to compete."