United States Representatives Aaron Schock, Mario Diaz-Balart, Gregory Meeks, and Henry Cuellar released the following joint statement in response to the news that Colombian lawmakers recently passed the China-Colombia Reciprocal Investment Promotion and Protection bill:
"The recent news that Colombia is moving forward to further open their investment market to China is yet another sign that the United States must immediately take the necessary steps to pass the Colombia Free Trade Agreement.
"Colombia's GDP of over $430 billion makes Colombia the 5th largest Latin American economy and the 3rd largest U.S. export market in Latin America, behind only Mexico and Brazil. China's investment in Latin America doubled from 2008 to 2009 alone, and Colombia's investment agreement with China will further accelerate this growth. While China is now the largest trading partner of Brazil and Chile, the United States continues to be Colombia's largest trading partner, with China second. However, U.S. exporters' share of Colombian imports fell 17 percent between 2001 and 2009, while Chinese exporters' share nearly tripled. Overall Colombia-China trade increased nineteen-fold since 2000.
"The longer we delay passage of our own trade agreement with Colombia the more market share U.S. businesses lose to foreign competitors. The independent U.S. International Trade Commission estimates that implementation of the Colombia agreement would increase exports by $1.1 billion and add $2.5 billion to the U.S. GDP. This trade agreement is a no cost way to create jobs at home and grow our economy.
"While we are pleased that progress continues to be made, more must be done immediately. We urge the Administration to send to Congress the Colombian Trade Promotion Agreement without further delay, in order to allow passage of the agreement as early as possible in July. Failing to pass the agreement before the August recess will once again harm U.S. workers, farmer, ranches, and businesses by denying U.S. job creators the chance to do what they do best - create jobs at home and help grow our economy."