Rep. Adam Smith (WA-9), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following statement on the announcement that a deal has been reached between Colombia and the United States on key reforms that will advance the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement:
“I am pleased to see the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement taking a large step forward today. Now more than ever we must work with our allies to strengthen strategic and economic partnerships that will provide access to emerging markets for American exports and encourage job growth at home.
“I applaud the Obama Administration’s work with the Santos government to address serious labor and human rights concerns for Colombian workers. In addition to the enforceable labor standards included in the underlying agreement, the deal announced today requires immediate, concrete steps and resources to address violence against Colombian trade unionists and human rights activists, strengthen workers’ rights, and improve the rule of law. These reforms will remain a priority as we continue to deepen bilateral ties, and I believe such protections will be more swiftly accomplished through engagement rather than inaction.
“The Santos Administration is our ally and partner in South America, supportive of U.S. interests both regionally and globally. They have been crucial in tackling instability in developing countries. Colombia’s experience confronting insurgencies and organized crime has improved similar needs in Mexico, Afghanistan, and across Central America. Continued dialogue and collaboration between our governments will improve security and ultimately make Americans safer.
“At home, the export-driven economy of Washington’s South Sound stands to gain from decreased tariffs and greater market share as more U.S. goods reach the growing market of 45 million Colombian consumers. I will continue to work with the Obama Administration to ensure a trade agreement that increases the competitiveness of American exports and creates good jobs in the U.S., while remaining vigilant about promoting American values of equality and workers’ rights worldwide.”