SUBMITTED RESOLUTIONS; Congressional Record Vol. 155, No. 97
(Senate - June 25, 2009)

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[Pages S7100-S7102]
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                         SUBMITTED RESOLUTIONS

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  SENATE RESOLUTION 206--EXPRESSING THE SENSE OF THE SENATE THAT THE 
 UNITED STATES SHOULD IMMEDIATELY IMPLEMENT THE UNITED STATES-COLOMBIA 
                       TRADE PROMOTION AGREEMENT

  Mr. JOHANNS (for himself, Mrs. Hutchison, Mr. Bunning, Mr. Roberts, 
Mr. Martinez, and Mr. Bond) submitted the following resolution; which 
was referred to the Committee on Finance:

                              S. Res. 206

       Whereas, since his election in 2002, the President of 
     Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, has been overwhelmingly successful in 
     strengthening the institutions of Colombia, fighting 
     terrorism, improving the economy of Colombia, and extending 
     the authority of the central government, the social support 
     network, and security to most of Colombia;
       Whereas, during President Uribe's term, the economy of 
     Colombia grew at an average rate of more than 5 percent per 
     year between 2002 and 2007;
       Whereas, according to the World Bank, the total gross 
     domestic product of Colombia increased from $93,000,000,000 
     in 2002 to $207,800,000,000 in 2007;
       Whereas, according to the Office of the United States Trade 
     Representative, approximately 10,000,000 people in Colombia 
     have been lifted out of poverty during the past 5 years;
       Whereas, according to the Ministry of Defense of Colombia, 
     between 2002 and 2007, kidnappings in Colombia decreased by 
     83 percent, murders decreased by 40 percent, and terrorist 
     attacks decreased by 76 percent;
       Whereas police are now present in all 1,099 municipalities 
     in Colombia, including areas previously held by various 
     criminal and terrorist groups;
       Whereas, according to the Department of State, more than 
     30,000 paramilitaries have been demobilized and disarmed 
     since 2002;
       Whereas, in July 2008, the security forces of Colombia 
     successfully rescued 15 prisoners held hostage by the 
     Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), including 
     French-Colombian Ingrid Betancourt and 3 citizens of the 
     United States, Marc Gonsalves, Keith Stansell, and Thomas 
     Howes;
       Whereas, according to the Office of the United States Trade 
     Representative, unemployment in Colombia fell from 16 percent 
     in 2002 to 9.9 percent in 2007;
       Whereas, partially in recognition of the impressive 
     economic, political, and diplomatic advances Colombia has 
     made during the past decade, the United States negotiated and 
     signed the United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement 
     on November 22, 2006, and a protocol of amendment to the 
     Agreement on June 28, 2007;
       Whereas, according to the Office of the United States Trade 
     Representative, Colombia is currently the 27th largest 
     trading partner of the United States with respect to goods;
       Whereas, according to the United States International Trade 
     Commission, goods valued at $11,400,000,000 were exported 
     from the United States to Colombia in 2008, an increase from 
     $3,600,000,000 in 2002;
       Whereas, according to the United States International Trade 
     Commission, implementing the United States-Colombia Trade 
     Promotion Agreement would boost exports from the United 
     States by an estimated $1,100,000,000;
       Whereas, more than 90 percent of exports from Colombia to 
     the United States already enter the United States duty-free 
     under the Andean Trade Preference Act (19 U.S.C. 3201 et 
     seq.) and the Generalized System of Preferences under title V 
     of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. 2461 et seq.);
       Whereas, according to the Office of the United States Trade 
     Representative, more than 80 percent of consumer and 
     industrial products exported from the United States to 
     Colombia will enter Colombia duty-free as soon as the United 
     States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement enters into force 
     and all remaining tariffs on such products will be eliminated 
     within 10 years after the Agreement enters into force;
       Whereas, according to the Office of the United States Trade 
     Representative, the primary exports from the United States to 
     Colombia in 2008 were $2,600,000,000 in machinery, 
     $997,000,000 in mineral fuel, $974,000,000 in organic 
     chemicals, $969,000,000 in corn and wheat cereals, and 
     $950,000,000 in electrical machinery;
       Whereas, according to the Office of the United States Trade 
     Representative, Colombia is the 15th largest market for farm 
     products exported from the United States, with the United 
     States exporting almost $1,700,000,000 worth of farm products 
     to Colombia in 2008;
       Whereas, since 2006, the quantity of agricultural products 
     exported from the United States to Colombia has increased by 
     approximately 40 percent per year;
       Whereas, according to the Department of Agriculture, 99.9 
     percent of agricultural products imported into the United 
     States from Colombia enter the United States duty-free, but 
     no agricultural products exported from the United States to 
     Colombia currently enter Colombia duty-free;
       Whereas, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation, 
     the United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement would 
     increase sales of agricultural products produced in the 
     United States by $910,000,000,000 each year;
       Whereas, according to the Department of Agriculture, more 
     than half of agricultural products exported from the United 
     States to Colombia will enter Colombia duty-free as soon as 
     the United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement enters 
     into force and all remaining tariffs on such products will be 
     phased out over time;
       Whereas the United States-Colombia Trade Promotion 
     Agreement will level the playing field for workers, 
     businesses, and farmers in the United States by making duty-
     free treatment a 2-way street between the United States and 
     Colombia for the first time;
       Whereas, in the United States-Colombia Trade Promotion 
     Agreement, Colombia agreed to exceed commitments made by 
     Colombia as a member of the World Trade Organization and to 
     dismantle significant barriers to services and investment 
     from the United States; and
       Whereas, in the United States-Colombia Trade Promotion 
     Agreement, the United States and Colombia reaffirm their 
     obligations as members of the International Labour 
     Organization: Now, therefore, be it
       Resolved, That--
       (1) the Senate--
       (A) recognizes the historic successes achieved by the 
     President of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, in rebuilding the 
     Government of Colombia, strengthening the institutions of 
     Colombia, and solidifying the rule of law in Colombia;
       (B) congratulates President Uribe, the Government of 
     Colombia, and the security forces of Colombia for significant 
     successes in fighting the Revolutionary Armed Forces of 
     Colombia (FARC);
       (C) recognizes the close ties between the United States and 
     Colombia in the fight against illicit narcotics, terrorism, 
     and transnational crime; and
       (D) recognizes that the United States-Colombia Trade 
     Promotion Agreement is enormously advantageous for workers, 
     businesses, and farmers in the United States, who would be 
     able to export goods to Colombia duty-free for the first 
     time; and
       (2) it is the sense of that Senate that--
       (A) it is in the security, economic, and diplomatic 
     interests of the United States to deepen the relationship 
     between the United States and Colombia; and
       (B) the United States should implement the United States-
     Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement immediately.

  Mr. JOHANNS. Mr. President, I rise today to speak about the United 
States-Colombia Free Trade Agreement which was signed way back in 
November of 2006. On July 29, President Uribe will be visiting the 
United States to meet with our President, President Obama. The two have 
previously met at the Summit of Americas in April, but this will be 
President Uribe's first time here under the new administration.
  Today, as one Senator, I rise to express my hope for a continuing 
bond in our relationship with Colombia's President Uribe. I also rise 
to express some concerns that I will talk about. I am happy that 
President Obama recognizes the importance of our closest ally in South 
America. I am also pleased President Uribe continues to seek a close 
relation with the United States, for he is truly a courageous and a 
visionary leader.
  Coming to power in some of the darkest and most vicious days of a 
Marxist insurgency everywhere in that country, he has pulled Colombia 
back from

[[Page S7101]]

the brink. President Uribe has driven the terrorists from much of their 
territory in Colombia's cities, boosted the economy, and he has 
improved Colombia's human rights record.
  If an American President had achieved this much, some would be 
clamoring for him or her to seek a third term. The same is true in 
Colombia, where despite term limits, Uribe is actually being petitioned 
to run again.
  His achievements are very impressive. During President Uribe's time 
in office, the economy grew at an average rate of over 5 percent over 
the past 5 years.
  According to the World Bank, Colombia's GDP growth then grew 7.5 
percent in 2007, far surpassing the average in Latin America. Ten 
million Colombians have been lifted out of poverty, unemployment has 
fallen from double digits--16 percent in 2002--to 9.9 percent in 2007.
  Crime has been a historic problem in Colombia. Yet, under President 
Uribe's stewardship, kidnapings have declined 83 percent, murders are 
down by 40 percent, terrorist attacks are down by 76 percent. Every 
single one of Colombia's 1,099 municipalities now have a police 
presence. Finally, at long last, Colombia appears to be winning the war 
against the terrorists who have made life miserable for far too many 
years.
  Last summer, the world was treated to the images of smiling U.S., 
French, and Colombian hostages when a daring Colombian Army raid freed 
them from the terrorists. These included three U.S. defense contractors 
and one hostage who had been held since February of 2002.
  The U.S. State Department estimates that over 30,000 paramilitaries 
and terrorists have been disarmed and demobilized--an impressive 
number.
  I look to the future in this relationship, but I will be very candid. 
I am concerned about the present. I speak of the Colombia trade 
agreement that is languishing in the executive branch. We should, in my 
judgment, be embarrassed by this inaction. I recognize the populism of 
opposing trade, but I cannot understand the opposition to the Colombian 
Free Trade Agreement. It levels the playing field for U.S. workers and 
farmers and small businesses. Over 90 percent of Colombia's exports to 
the United States already enter this country duty free. They have for 
years, under the Andean Trade Preferences Act and other previous 
agreements.
  Meanwhile, U.S. exports to Colombia face high tariffs. They can be as 
high as 35 percent, a tax on our goods going into Colombia. In spite of 
these restrictions, Colombia is America's 27th largest trading partner.
  An International Trade Commission study estimated that the United 
States-Colombia Free Trade Agreement would boost U.S. exports by $1.1 
billion. Do my colleagues and others who oppose this deal think the 
U.S. economy is so robust it does not need another billion-dollar-plus 
market? Are things that rosy? I suggest not.
  I come from a farm State where we are especially eager to open new 
markets. Virtually 100 percent of Colombia's agricultural products 
enter the United States duty free. Zero percent of U.S. agricultural 
exports enter Colombia duty free.
  This FTA wipes out those differences. It levels the playing field. 
Tariffs would immediately disappear for 80 percent of U.S. exports into 
Colombia and the rest phase out over time. The potential for dramatic 
increases in our exports, in my judgment, is very clear.
  Consider this: Even with the tariff imbalance our agricultural 
exports to Colombia totaled almost $1.7 billion in 2008. In spite of 
all of the current tariffs, corn and wheat cereals are one of the major 
U.S. exports to Colombia. Last year we sold $969 million worth, as well 
as $2.6 billion in machinery.
  By anybody's definition these are very big numbers, and on a level 
playing field--which is what the FTA will do--they will be even bigger, 
with a potential to create thousands of jobs in an economy that needs 
every job.
  These statistics clearly show the FTA we have negotiated with 
Colombia is not a blind leap into the unknown. Colombia already 
essentially has free trade with us, an open border. This FTA levels the 
playing field for America's farmers and ranchers and U.S. businesses.
  Did you know more than 8,000 small- and medium-size businesses in our 
country export to Colombia? For them, the elimination of these tariffs 
would blow open the door of opportunity.
  Congress should not be in the business of creating hurdles for the 
United States overseas, nor should the executive branch. Yet here we 
have a clear pathway to eliminate a huge hurdle with a simple nod of 
approval. Yet we have failed to act.
  The economic justification speaks for itself, but it is just one of 
the several compelling reasons to ratify this agreement immediately. 
Perhaps as persuasive is the political situation in Latin America. 
Since his rise to power in Venezuela in 1998, Hugo Chavez has 
reinvigorated the radical Latin-American left. He has formed a block of 
anti-American countries in South and Central America composed of Cuba, 
Nicaragua, Bolivia, and, increasingly, Ecuador.
  During an audacious raid on the Ecuador border, Colombian military 
units captured evidence detailing the Venezuelan Government's extensive 
support for the terrorists. Venezuela has used its petroleum money to 
buy friends and influence people throughout the hemisphere, and too 
often they have succeeded. Our friend in Colombia has stoutly resisted 
this siren song. When too many other nations have drifted into cheap 
anti-U.S. populism, Colombia has stood strong, and has traveled 
precisely the opposite way.
  So while President Uribe is here in our Nation and is meeting with 
our President, I hope the President of the United States will do the 
right thing and stand firmly in support of completing the FTA that has 
been negotiated. It is time for the administration to show great 
leadership on this issue, which is at every level, in my judgment, just 
good common sense.
  However, Congress cannot shirk its responsibility for the lack of 
action on the Colombia FTA. While the administration needs to step to 
the mound, Congress must step up to the plate and swing for the fences. 
This agreement was signed and it was sealed and it was delivered two 
and a half years ago. It is an unbelievable opportunity for our 
farmers, our ranchers, and our small businesses. It is waiting right 
here at our doorstep. All it needs is our nod of approval.
  That is why today I introduce a resolution recognizing the benefits 
of the Colombian Free Trade Agreement. I encourage my colleagues to 
cosponsor this resolution and to implore the leadership to allow it to 
come to a vote.
  Rarely has an initiative with benefits this crystal clear faced such 
a rocky and uncertain road. The time to level the playing field for 
farmers and ranchers and small businesses is here. It is upon us.
  Mr. ALEXANDER. Mr. President, I congratulate the Senator from 
Nebraska on his resolution to recognize the importance of the United 
States continuing to trade in the world, especially with our friends in 
Latin America, especially when they are already taking advantage of low 
tariffs with us and we are not taking advantage of low tariffs with 
them. Our principal concern on the Republican side, and I am sure for 
many Democrats, too, is the cost of living for middle-class families in 
America. There are many issues that come before us that deal with 
that--the level of taxes, the level of tuition, that we get Medicaid 
spending under control so States will be able to fund the Universities 
of Nebraska and Tennessee better--but another way to do that is to 
trade with the world.
  People walk into stores in America, and they are looking, today, in 
bad economic times, for low costs. Are we going to erect barriers and 
raise costs? Are we going to say to families who do not have many extra 
dollars that it is in our national interest to raise our costs? Are we 
going to keep out of our country people with products and ideas causing 
them to keep our products and ideas out of their country? Are we that 
afraid of competing in the world?
  We Tennesseans have been much better off since Federal Express 
started flying in China and Nissan started building cars in Tennessee. 
Federal Express employs 30,000 people in the Memphis, TN, area, and 
Nissan just announced this week it is going to build electric cars, not 
in Japan but in Smyrna, TN. That is because we trade with the world. So 
this creeping protectionism that we see is a threat to the middle-class 
budget of every American.

[[Page S7102]]

  Senator Johanns has made an important step toward change.

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