American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) President and CEO Kevin M. Burke welcomed Thursday the announcement that the United States and Colombia have found a path forward on the long-stalled U.S. Colombia Free Trade Agreement.
“Today’s announcement that the United States and Colombia have found a way forward on the long-pending free trade deal is a very positive step towards getting U.S. trade policy back on track for exponential growth.
“Since 2006, this solid agreement has languished in uncertainty. I am very pleased that negotiators from both countries have been able to find solutions to the issues that have prevented American families, American workers, and American companies from realizing the benefits of this free trade agreement.
“I applaud U.S. President Barack Obama and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos for their efforts and patience on this agreement. Upon its implementation, this trade agreement provides U.S. companies unfettered access to nearly 45 million new consumers. In addition, the U.S. textile, apparel, and footwear industries, along with our workers and consumers, stand to benefit from improved and permanent two-way trade flows.
“President Obama should submit this agreement to Congress as soon as possible. I look forward to working with Congress to ensure swift passage of this commercially-meaningful agreement. In the meantime, I urge Congress to immediately renew the recently-expired Andean Trade Preferences Act. This preference program has served as the anchor of our trade partnership with Colombia, and will be vital to the success of the U.S. Colombia Free Trade Agreement”