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U.S. trade agreement with Colombia reached

April 6, 2011 at 3:14 PM

WASHINGTON, April 6 (UPI) -- A renegotiated U.S.-Colombia trade agreement has been reached, the Obama administration announced Wednesday.

In a position paper, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said President Obama was committed to an ambitious trade agenda that would help grow the U.S. economy and employment opportunities by opening new markets.

"To achieve that objective, we seek to provide a level playing field that creates economic opportunities for U.S. workers, companies, farmers, and ranchers, and that ensures our trading partners have acceptable working conditions and respect fundamental labor rights," the statement said.

The Obama administration worked closely with the Colombian government to address labor issues, the statement said.

The U.S.-Colombia trade agreement will expand export of U.S. goods by more than $1.1 billion and give key U.S. goods and services duty-free access in a variety of sectors from manufacturing to agriculture, the White House said, and will increase U.S. gross domestic product by $2.5 billion and support thousands of additional U.S. jobs.

The agreement could help loosen a backlog of trade deals before Congress. Republicans in both chambers called on the administration to send pending agreements with Colombia and Panama to Capitol Hill for approval, threatening to hold up a renegotiated trade deal with South Korea until action was taken on the other two.

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