Colombia’s swimsuit sales to the United States are up 99% from 2012, totaling $8.6 million in 2013, according to the Portafolio newspaper.
Statistics provided by the Ministry of Commerce, based on data from the national statistics agency (DANE), indicate that the submersible side of Colombia’s growing textile industry has taken hold in the United States, Colombia’s biggest trade partner.
“Competitive factors are allowing Colombian garments not only to be sold in states as Florida and California, where nearly 60% ofthe swimsuit industry is centered, but also in others, such as Colorado, Georgia, and Washington,” said Maria Claudia Lacouture, president of Proexport, the government-funded agency tasked with promoting Colombian business and investment abroad.
Proexport announced that 21 Colombian companies are exporting swimsuits to United States for the first time since the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries began coming into effect nearly two years ago. Though Colombian exports overall have dropped significantly since the FTA’s implementation — 28% in the first quarter of 2014 — the swimsuit industry is apparently thriving.
Founded in 2008 in Medellin, Paradizia Swimwear from Medellin now exports to 40 countries across the world. According to Portafolio, Paradizia Commercial Director Renata Aristizabal, said, “45% goes to United States, our largest market. It is essential to understand the rules of origin to really take advantage of the FTA. In the beginning, it was more complicated to understand, but now we are trying to manage it by doing it by the book, to export calmly with all the advantages the agreement offers.”
“There’s more interest in and knowledge about Colombia [in the United States now],” said Rodrigo Serna Jaramillo, the general manager of the Manizales-based Confecciones Rosse swimwear company. “They see us as a proximate provider that offers faster shipping times and with prices approaching those of China. Because of the FTA, it costs about the same for them, but with high added value and quality.”
At the time this article was published, Colombia Reports was unable to find statistics verifying the claims reported by Portafolio. Proexport, the Ministry of Commerce, and the DANE were all unavailable for comment.