Writing in support of a speedy vote for the Colombia Free Trade Agreement, Competitive Enterprise Institute scholars Fran Smith and Ryan Young write:
American businesses large and small conduct considerable trade with Colombia. The U.S. Commerce Department estimates that 9,000 companies trade with that country. Nearly 8,000 of those are small or medium-sized businesses. According to the U.S. Trade Representative, U.S. goods exports to Colombia in 2007 totaled $8.6 billion, making Colombia the U.S.’s fourth largest trading partner in Latin America.
The benefits of trade with Colombia spread throughout the country. The top five states in total exports to Colombia in 2007 were Texas, Florida, Louisiana, California, and Illinois. The Colombia FTA would especially help Louisiana. That state is by far the largest exportere of agricultural products and livestock to Colombia, which totaled $559,937,000 in 2007 – more than half the U.S. total for those exports. Other significant Louisiana exports to Colombia are chemicals and processed foods. This is significant for a poor state such as Louisiana, especially ravaged since Hurricane Katrina. Louisiana ranked 45th in real GDP in 2006 and 31st in per capita income in 2007.