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New US-Colombia Free Trade Pact Applauded by Some, Feared by Others


A major U.S. business group, the Chamber of Commerce, is applauding the new free trade pact between the United States and Colombia. But Colombian poultry farmers say greater market access for U.S. agricultural goods could hurt their businesses.

The deal was finished Monday after two years of talks.

If the agreement is ratified, Colombia will end tariffs on American beef, cotton, and on many grains and fruits. Eighty percent of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial products will gain tariff-free access to Colombia.

Colombia will retain barriers on imports of U.S. rice.

Under an existing pact, Colombia already has broad duty-free access to the U.S. market. U.S. quotas on Colombian sugar will increase each year.

The Bush administration plans to send the agreement to Congress in the next few months. Colombia's legislature must also ratify it.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.
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