U.S. Wheat Associates representatives are heralding the May 15 implementation of the U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement.

According to U.S. Wheat, the agreement will eliminate all tariffs on U.S. wheat exports to Colombia, creating a level playing field for U.S. wheat farmers. Export competitors Canada and Argentina already have duty-free access to Colombia.

The new pact will help the United States regain market share lost since the Canada-Colombia free trade agreement went into effect in August 2011.

Colfax, Wash., farmer Randy Suess, chairman of U.S. Wheat, said in a press release that the push to win back the lost wheat export business has already begun.

"Based on our work, we know this agreement, and others like them, will help us rebuild and expand markets, grow our economy here at home and remain the most reliable supplier of wheat in the world," Suess said.

Colombia is the second-largest destination for U.S. wheat in South America. Colombia imported about 800,000 metric tons of U.S. wheat from five of the six U.S. wheat classes in the 2010-11 marketing year.

-- Matthew Weaver

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