The Republic of Colombia is the fifth largest economy in Latin America with the third largest population of approximately 48 million inhabitants. It is the only country in South America with two sea coasts (Pacific and Caribbean) providing tactical shipping advantages in today’s global market. Aided by major security improvements, steady economic growth and moderate inflation, Colombia has become a free market economy with major commercial and investment ties to the United States, Europe, Asia and Latin America. In 2012 Colombia is the fifth largest market for U.S. exports in Latin America, and the 20th largest market for U.S textile and apparel exports. Key economic indicators demonstrating the positive long-term effect of Colombia’s political and economic policies include: GDP growth of 5.5 percent in 2011, (expected to remain between 5 and 6 percent for 2012); and a rise in textile and apparel industry of 6 percent in 2011 over 2010 figures. These are all signs of a strong and growing economy.
Due to Colombia’s close ties to the United States and Colombians’ realization of the quality and reliability of U.S products, consumers in Colombia often favor U.S. products and services over those of our foreign competitors. The United States is Colombia’s largest trading partner and Colombia was the 22nd largest market for U.S. exports in 2011. U.S. exports to Colombia in 2011 topped USD 14.3 billion, an increase of more than 18 percent over 2010. From January to August 2012 US exports to Colombia have been of $ 10.3 billion, a 10% increase regarding the same period of time in 2011.
FREE TRADE AGREEMENT- TEXTILE INDUSTRY
The Textile and Apparel Industry is benefiting with the Free Trade Agreement between Colombia and USA. The industry is receiving a duty free treatment since the agreement’s entry into force. Almost all the items of the textile industry are under staging category A, which states that such goods are duty-free from May 15, 2012.
Colombia had some benefits through the ATPDEA but with the FTA the benefits are higher because 99% of the textile industry is duty free. Not all trade in textiles and apparel from Colombia are totally “free”: U.S. import tariffs ranging from 2.3%-27.9% still exist on items like men’s blazers, women’s suits, swimwear, and certain items of outerwear (though virtually all tariffs will be eliminated over the next decade).