Menendez, Blunt, Kaine, Wicker, Cardin, Moran Introduce the United States-Colombia Bicentennial Alliance Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today was joined by Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Jerry Moran (R-KS) in introducing the United States-Colombia Bicentennial Alliance Act of 2022, bipartisan legislation that lays out a comprehensive agenda for U.S.-Colombia relations focused on expanding engagement on issues of inclusive economic growth, peace and democratic governance, anti-corruption, and international security.
Initially introduced by Senators Menendez and Kaine in March of 2022 as the United States-Colombia Strategic Alliance Act, the bipartisan Bicentennial Alliance Act seeks to codify into law the Biden administration’s decision to designate Colombia as a Major Non-NATO Ally. Under U.S. law, a Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) status designation is a powerful symbol that provides our closest partners with additional defense, trade, and security cooperation benefits. The United States currently has 17 Major Non-NATO allies. The United States-Colombia Bicentennial Alliance Act of 2022 also reinforces the U.S.’ support for efforts to advance peace and democratic governance, including the 2016 Peace Accord that ended a half-century internal armed conflict.
The legislation also seeks to increase investments in Colombian businesses through the establishment of a new Colombian-American Enterprise Fund to help catalyze economic recovery in Colombia. It also promotes new efforts to strengthen United States’ supply chains in the Western Hemisphere. The proposal bolsters the U.S.-Colombia partnership on security, defense, cyber, human rights, and labor rights issues, and facilitates new opportunities for women entrepreneurs and members of Afro-Colombian and Indigenous communities. The legislation also proposes actions to bolster the effectiveness of the United States’ humanitarian assistance programs in Colombia.
“I am immensely proud to be joined by my colleagues in advancing the United States-Colombia Bicentennial Alliance Act, which serves as an immense step forward in our efforts to secure a brighter, freer, and more prosperous western hemisphere,” Chairman Menendez said. “Today, Democrats and Republicans come together to initiate a new era in United States-Colombia relations that better reflects the complexities, challenges, and opportunities of the modern world. The growing bipartisan support for our proposal not only ensures it can be swiftly adopted by the Senate, but also demonstrates our recognition of Colombia’s prominence as a key player on the world stage and our most critical ally in Latin America.”
“As the United States and Colombia celebrate our 200-year relationship, we have an opportunity to identify ways we can work together to ensure a strong and enduring partnership well into the future,” said Senator Blunt. “I’m proud to serve as co-chair of the US-Colombia Task Force, which has brought U.S. and Colombian leaders together to strengthen our economic, diplomatic, and security cooperation. The U.S.-Colombia Bicentennial Alliance Act will help support those efforts and send an important message to Colombia that we are committed to working together to advance our shared goals and values.”
“This legislation underscores the importance of Colombia as our strongest partner in the region, and will support Colombia’s efforts to implement its landmark peace accords, protect human rights, and promote rural and economic development,” said Senator Kaine, the Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere. “Strengthening our ties through this bill will promote our mutual security and prosperity.”
“Colombia is a strong American ally that deserves our support,” Senator Wicker said. “This bill would strengthen commercial and cultural ties between our two countries, laying the groundwork for continued partnership.”
“As we celebrate 200 years of United States – Colombia relations, I am proud to co-sponsor this significant bill that will advance the joint efforts of our two nations in so many essential areas – strengthening democracy, advancing economic growth, fostering security, and most of all, keeping peace for all people in the Western Hemisphere,” said Senator Ben Cardin.
“Colombia is an enduring partner for the United States in our shared Western Hemisphere,” said Sen. Moran. “Given the region’s importance and the challenges our two nations face, this legislation provides the framework to deepen bilateral economic, political and security ties.”
“Colombia is one of the United States’ top global partners. Bipartisan action to deepen the US-Colombia relationship is essential for US national interests as we face new and evolving challenges in the Western Hemisphere,” said Fred Kempe, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Atlantic Council.
Find a copy of the United States-Colombia Bicentennial Alliance Act of 2022 HERE. Among its key provisions, the bipartisan legislation:
- Codifies the designation of Colombia as a Major Non-NATO Ally of the United States
- Establishes a $200 million Colombian-American Enterprise to support investments in Colombia’s tech sector and women-owned businesses, strengthens tech training for women and girls
- Requires a U.S. strategy to strengthen supply chains and advance nearshoring initiatives
- Authorizes a bilateral labor compact to advance cooperation on labor rights and labor formalization
- Establishes U.S. policy in support of peace, justice, and democratic governance, including timely implementation of Colombia’s 2016 peace accord
- Establishes a U.S.-Colombia consultative committee to advance bilateral security cooperation
- Strengthens bilateral cooperation on cyber defense and combatting cyber crimes
- Requires new classified reporting on FARC dissidents and malign activities by foreign states
- Expands efforts to counter corruption and protect human rights defenders
- Strengthens initiatives to combat illicit mining and increase the responsible sourcing of gold