President Obama and Colombian President Santos Juan Manuel Santos announced on Sunday that the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement will enter into force on May 15. The agreement will expand exports of U.S. goods by more than $1.1 billion and provide duty-free access for U.S. goods in sectors from manufacturing to agriculture.

The free trade agreement with Colombia offers important short- and long-term economic benefits to U.S. rice producers, millers and exporters. Upon implementation, a duty-free tariff rate quota (TRQ) for 79,000 metric tons (milled equivalent basis) of U.S. rice will be established. Further, the Colombia agreement provides that the net revenue from auctioning certificates to export under the TRQ be split evenly between the U.S. and Colombian rice industries. "This is long-awaited good news for the United States and for the U.S rice industry, which stands to gain a sizeable export market in Colombia," USA Rice Chairman Jackie Loewer said in a press release. Discussions continue within the U.S. and Colombian rice industries to establish a mechanism that will allow for the auctioning of exports certificates and the distribution of auction revenues to the rice industries of both countries.  

Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) both issued statements applauding the work done by both presidents to implement the agreement in a timely manner.