The Minister, Sergio Diaz-Granados, said that measures announced by President Juan Manuel Sntos, aim to boost the textile and apparel sector in Colombia. The President’s words came within the context of “Weaving Colombia,” a major event of the sector, which by invitation of the Colombian Chamber of Apparel, included businesspersons of the sector in Beijing.

With these measures, we leverage this very important sector for the economy and job creation”: Minister Diaz-Granados.As a first step, President Santos announced a tariff increase for the textile and apparel sector, which will be temporary. Additionally, there will be the implementation of a mixed tariff, which will set an ad valorem tariff, in addition to a special tax for goods imported from the textile and apparel chain.

Minster Diaz-Granados said that this will fix a dollar rate, to be determined, and a tariff percentage over the value of the merchandise, so as to protect the industry from low priced imports or sub-manufactures.

Secondly, the announcement included the creation of a special force to combat smuggling and customs fraud, which is comprised of nine prosecutors that will conduct investigations and prosecutions related to illegal trade. According to the Minister, this measure is necessary to prevent the entry of illegal goods into the country, especially in the areas of footwear and apparel.

Also the Administration will continue its work on the issue of formalizing the sector. This will be done through the Sponsor Plan, where large companies will undertake efforts to support smaller ones in the process of formalization, which is an initiative that will be managed by the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Tourism, through its Productive Transformation Program (PTP). According to the Minister, this measure will encourage businesses to formalize, which is a scenario where “all Colombians win.”

Another measure that was put forth by President Santos included the announcement that, in 2013, the Buy Colombian Program, of the Ministry in question, will be strengthened and will reach most parts of the country. This is part of the effort to boost trade and domestic demand.

As for the Minister, he emphasized that the textile and apparel industry is crucial to job creation and social stability in the country. On this account, he said that the Administration will spare nothing to increase the sectors productivity or protect its viability.

In addition to these measures announced by the Administration, Minister Diaz-Granados took stock of the strategies that have been launched this year to improve the productivity and competitiveness of the industry. It includes, Preparation of a draft bill, together with the private sector, to protect the industry from smuggling and counterfeiting, which will be placed before Congress in the coming year. Simplification of procedures and an analysis, conducted by the Ministry and Dian, for the unification of the application for certificate of origin and the registration of domestic production into a single form. This issue has been studied by both instances.