The NCC issued a statement welcoming the news that the enabling legislation necessary for Congress to approve the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was formally transmitted to Congress – saying the U.S. cotton industry urges immediate approval of the legislation by the House and Senate.

The statement noted that NCC members consistently have expressed support for Congressional approval of the Free Trade Agreement with the Republic of Colombia, which was signed in Nov. 2006. US exports of cotton and cotton products have increased under the provisions of the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA). However, approval of the FTA will enhance U.S. competitiveness and benefit farmers and manufacturers by removing the tariffs which are currently applied to US products entering Colombia.

Colombia is an important export market for U.S. raw cotton. In 2010, the United States exported more than 230,000 bales of raw cotton to Colombia with an estimated value of $100 million. With an 80 percent market share, the United States is the primary supplier of imported cotton to the Colombian market. With the FTA in place, the United States is well positioned to capture a significant portion of growth in Colombia’s demand for cotton fiber.

In addition, the statement pointed out that both Colombia and the United States benefit from significant two-way trade in cotton textile products. In 2010, textile exports in predominantly-cotton products from the United States to Colombia totalled $56 million. During that same year, the United States imported $165 million in predominantly-cotton textile products from Colombia. Under the provisions of the ATPDEA, Colombian apparel products, containing U.S. components, enter the United States duty-free. However, the failure to approve the FTA in a timely manner and the uncertainty associated with the need to extend the ATPDEA while the Administration and Congress consider the FTA, has disrupted trade and caused U.S. exporters of cotton yarn and fabric to lose business to Asian sources.