Washington, DC – U.S. Congressman Charles W. Boustany, Jr., MD (R-Southwest Louisiana) today applauded the announcement of a plan to address Colombian labor issues, possibly clearing the way for passage of the U.S. - Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA) by Congress.

“A trade agreement with Colombia will mean more jobs for Louisiana,” Boustany said. “Once implemented, the U.S - Colombia TPA will make Louisiana rice competitive and significantly increase our exports to Colombia.  In addition to rice, soybean producers and many other Louisiana businesses will be able to successfully compete and gain market share in Colombia.  By opening this and other markets, our small businesses and companies can grow and prosper.  I look forward to working with the Administration to ensure the swift enactment of all three outstanding trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea.”
Boustany says the U.S. – Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement will open markets between Colombia and the United States while improving labor conditions in the South American nation.  He says it will increase the exports to Colombia by more than $690 million per year.  The agreement includes an immediate elimination of duties on almost 70 percent of U.S. farm exports, including soybeans and cotton - two major crops in Louisiana.  Additionally, the agreement virtually ends all remaining tariffs on farm exports within 15 years, and provides duty-free tariff rate quotas (TRQ) on exports including rice. Currently, Louisiana is the third-largest U.S. rice exporter, with $136 million in total rice exports.
Congressman Boustany serves as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, and is active in his support for three pending trade agreements.  The agreements, if enacted, will vastly expand the market potential for goods and services, including agriculture, from Louisiana.