Since 1969, Colombia has been a member of the Andean Community, which constitutes a free trade agreement with Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru. Venezuela withdrew in 2006, but remains bound by its Andean Community commitments for five years from withdrawal. The Andean Community reached a free trade agreement with Mercosur countries (Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay) in 2005.
President Uribe’s Administration has energetically pursued measures to liberalize trade. The United States and Colombia signed the CTPA in November 2006 in Washington DC. Colombia has ratified the agreement, which is pending U.S. Congressional approval.
Apart from the CTPA, Colombia has signed various other free-trade agreements with individual countries or associations, which include the Central American Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras),, Canada, Mexico, Chile and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries (Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein),. In March 2010 Colombia finalized FTA negotiations with the European Union and has begun negotiating with South Korea. Additional free trade agreements are scheduled to be negotiated with Panama, the Dominican Republic, Australia, and Japan.
Additionally, to stimulate trade and investment, Colombia has Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) with several countries, including Switzerland, Peru and Spain; Colombia has included investment protection chapters in FTAs with Chile and Mexico. Additional BITs have been negotiated with China, India, South Korea, the United Kingdom, Finland, Belgium, Luxemburg and Chile, while negotiations are underway or about to begin with France, the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates, Australia and the Dominican Republic.
Colombia, along with Ecuador and Peru, benefits from the Andean Trade Preference and Drug Eradication Act. This U.S. unilateral tariff exemption program, which has been extended until December 31, 2010, promotes economic development through private sector initiatives. ATPDEA encourages exports to create income sources that are alternatives to drug production