Today marks the one year anniversary of the landmark Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Colombia and the United States. Proexport Colombia, the government entity in charge of promoting international tourism, foreign direct investment, and exports from the country will be holding a Business Matchmaking event in Miami to celebrate the success and trade growth experienced over the last year on May 14 and 15, 2013 at the Loews Hotel in Miami Beach, FL.
The state of Florida has been a fundamental partner and key player in the agreement since Colombia is the fourth largest and most important trade partner for Florida; receiving over US$3.3 Billion of dollars in exports from the country. The event is part of a series of promotional initiatives that Proexport Colombia organizes in the USA to bring together American and Colombian companies to motivate bilateral trade and to incentive business meetings and alliances to build up relationships between the two nations. The same event was hosted on May 2012 in New York City and in November 2012 in Los Angeles.
American companies from all over the USA are increasingly showing interest in Colombia’s supply due to its quality, competitive prices, innovative technologies and custom-made products. The event features companies like Interline Brands, Perry Ellis, Sears, Disney World, and Wal-Mart. Publix, HEB Supermarkets, Apparel Works, Lowes, HD Supply, among many, looking for new alternatives, said Maria Claudia Lacouture. In addition, the event will include 70 companies from 12 Caribbean islands representing Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Surinam, Trinidad and Tobago, and Netherlands Antilles. Markets where Proexport Colombia has presence and are also receiving benefit from the U.S.-Colombia agreement.
Since implementation, the FTA has eliminated a multitude of barriers which have allowed billions of dollars of U.S. exports to flow in Colombia. The FTA has also provided protection to U.S. investors and U.S. copyrights, trademarks and patents registered in Colombia. Maria Claudia Lacouture, President of Proexport Colombia, said, “The U.S. International Trade Commission estimates that through the FTA, the value of U.S. exports to Colombia could rise by $1.1 billion, while Colombian exports to the U.S. could grow by $487 million. This demonstrates the success of the FTA by any measure.”
Since May 2012 to February 2013, there were 775 new Colombian companies that exported their products for their first time to the USA; being the manufacturing, textiles; and agribusiness sectors the ones that have benefited the most. The products exported are not just traditional items, but there were 187 new products from the same industries that were able to be incorporated in the American market.
Colombia’s ties with the U.S. continue to being strengthened and bilateral trade keeps a steady growth for both nations. As a government entity, Proexport Colombia has intensified its promotional events to guarantee American executives can find new alternatives and suppliers while having an entity partner that can walk them through the entire process.