Colombian exports to the U.S. have risen by 18% between May and August compared to the same period in 2011, according to the government Friday.

From May 15 to August 31, the value of Colombian exports to the U.S. grew by 18% compared to the same months last year, claimed the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Sergio Diaz-Granados.

The minister attributed the growth to the Free Trade Agreement with the U.S., which commenced in May. He was especially happy given the export growth occurred during a time of shrinking demand in the U.S. economy.

The non-mining and energy related industries that recorded a significant rise in exports were flowers, prepared foods, sugar products and glassware. Flower sales increased by 31% in the first 100 days of enactment of the FTA, reaching $192 million in trade.

Diaz-Granados also highlighted the performance of dairy exports, which showed an increase of 287% from last year.

Colombian officials and business leaders celebrated the commencement of the U.S.-Colombia FTA on May 15 earlier this year. The accord between the two countries was signed by the two governments in 2006 yet was not ratified by the U.S. Congress until last year.

Source: Colombia Reports