Letter from a Member of Congress on the FTA

Dear (Constituent)  :


Thank you for writing me about the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA). I appreciate hearing from you on this issue.


Throughout this process, Democrats and the Administration have been intensively working with the Colombian government to craft meaningful principles that promote strong economic ties, create American jobs and strengthen the standards and protections for human rights and labor rights, as well as the environment in Colombia.  I am pleased that President Obama and President Juan Manuel Santos have placed a high priority on addressing these critical provisions and achieved solid progress to find a path forward for the U.S.-Colombia FTA.


The FTA with Colombia is important for the United States.  Colombia is a critical U.S. ally in Latin America.  Moreover, elimination of duties and other barriers will help American goods and services gain increased access to a valuable market.  Reciprocal and enforceable measures are critical parts of trade agreements that are a crucial part of improving our domestic economy.  Over the next five years, 87% of global growth is expected to take place outside of U.S. borders.  Given this rate, it is clear that trade and expanding exports is important to our future economic and job growth.  In fact, the U.S. often runs a trade surplus with the 17 countries with whom the U.S. has a free trade agreement; in 2009, our 17 FTA countries accounted for 40% of U.S. goods exports and 31% of our goods imports.  For example, since the North America Free Trade Agreement’s entry into force in 1994, Wisconsin’s exports to Canada and Mexico combined have grown by 197%; since the U.S.-Chile FTA in 2004, Wisconsin’s exports to Chile have grown by 122% and  since with the U.S.-Singapore FTA in 2004, Wisconsin’s exports to Singapore have grown by 68%.


Establishing strong, mutually beneficial agreements effectively create access to new markets, therefore, it is essential to get these trade deals right.  Democrats and the Obama Administration have worked to remove long-standing barriers and ensure the protection of workers ? human rights defenders, and the environment.  President Santos has turned a new page and launched a national development agenda that places social progress and civil society at the fore. Democrats and the Administration have continued to urge further progress and I am pleased that Colombia is working to make the changes necessary to move this agreement forward. As always, I appreciate your feedback on these important issues and look forward to continuing our discussion on these important matters.


Again, thank you for contacting me.  Please do not hesitate to be in touch with additional questions or concerns.  I also encourage you to visit my website, where you can find updated information, sign up to receive my e-newsletter, and send me e-mail.




Ron Kind

Member of Congress

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