Economic Benefits of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement

Publication Date: September 2008

Publisher: National Center for Policy Analysis (U.S.)

Author(s): Arnold C. Harberger; D. Sean Shurtleff

Research Area: Trade

Keywords: Colombia; Free trade

Type: Brief

Coverage: Colombia United States


A free trade agreement commits two or more countries to reduce mutual trade barriers - tariffs, quotas and so forth. Such agreements give both countries' products an advantage in each other's markets relative to imports from other countries.

Since 2001, the United States has ratified nine free trade agreements (FTAs), for a total of 11 encompassing 17 countries. Due, in part, to freer trade from FTAs, U.S. exports have grown an average of 11.1 percent annually since 2000, and trade with FTA partners now accounts for almost 43 percent of total exports [see Figure I]. In fact, the United States now has a surplus in manufactured goods with the trade-pact countries, meaning they import more manufactured U.S. goods than Americans purchase from them.