Tuesday, July 6, 2010

New Trade Agreements on the Horizon

We take a little break from the discussion of current trade agreements to give you a preview of the various agreements that are currently being considered.

U.S. –Korea Free Trade Agreement

The KORUS FTA was signed by the Republic of Korea and the United States in 2007, but has not been approved by Congress. This agreement would the first U.S. free trade agreement with a North Asian country and could be the catalyst for other agreements in the region. Under the FTA, nearly 95 percent of bilateral trade in consumer and industrial products would become duty free within three years of the date the FTA enters into force, and most remaining tariffs would be eliminated within 10 years.

There are still some issues to be addressed before President Obama will present it to Congress. Some of the concerns involve leveling the playing field for U.S. workers and manufacturers in the automotive and beef industries.

Click HERE to read the final text of the agreement.

U.S. – Colombia Free Trade Agreement

The U.S. –CFTA was signed in 2006 and is also awaiting approval by Congress. The Colombia FTA will immediately eliminate approximately 80% of tariffs on U.S. exports, with all remaining tariffs phased out over ten years. The Colombia FTA also includes important disciplines relating to customs administration and trade facilitation, technical barriers to trade, government procurement, investment, telecommunications, electronic commerce, intellectual property rights, and labor and environmental protection.

This agreement created more concern because of the blatant disregard for human rights and violence against workers in Colombia. The AFL-CIO opposed the agreement until the Colombian government could show sustained improvements in this area. The implementation of this act was delayed in 2008 when it was removed from the ‘Fast Track” timetable. President Obama opposed this agreement during his campaign; however, he met with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe in June 2009 and asked the USTR to work with Colombian representatives to move the agreement forward.

Click HERE to read the final text of the agreement.

Click HERE to read the U.S._CFTA: Economic and Political Implications (April 2010)

Trans-Pacific Partnership

The United States entered negotiations for a regional, Asia-Pacific trade agreement, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement to create a high standard, broad-based regional trade agreement and expand American exports in the Asia-Pacific region. The first round of negotiations took place from March 15-19 in Melbourne, Australia. The second round took place from June 14-19 in San Francisco, CA. During this meeting, approximately 25 U.S interested parties were represented, including AFL-CIO, FedEx, National Farmers Union and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. There are currently eight partner countries - Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam. Negotiations are expected to extend into 2011.

Click HERE to read additional information about the TPP.

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