“Despite these efforts and the fact the Colombian agricultural sector supports the FTA and wants to continue this growing international trade relationship with our producers, we are losing market share.”

The letter went on to state that without expeditious ratification of the FTA, U.S. producers will cede this market to other competitors. To further illustrate the urgency of the matter, the Council said that in 2008, U.S. agricultural exports of coarse grains exceeded $635 million and accounted for an 83 percent share of total Colombian coarse grain imports. Yet in 2010, U.S. coarse grain exports declined to $118 million and market share fell to 18 percent, which is a residual supplier level.

“Without the FTA, U.S. coarse grain producers will lose this market as well as other U.S. agricultural commodities,” the letter said, adding that in addition to the Mercosur agreement with Brazil and Argentina, Colombia has signed FTAs with Canada and the European Union and has launched FTA negotiations with Korea, Panama and Singapore.

“We are losing hundreds of millions of dollars in exports, (and) thousands of U.S. jobs in a strategic market that has exceptional growth potential in our own hemisphere,” the letter said. “If we are to meet the critical objectives of the National Export Initiative, we must begin by ratifying the existing FTAs and lay the ground work on the broader trade agenda of completing the Doha Development Round and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.”