The agenda of negotiating FTAs has advanced, but now businessmen need to work on developing more markets.
For Colombia, the largest free trade agreement (FTA) is that with the US which was worked on for more than six years and entered into force on May 15 this year.
This does not mean that other trade agreements negotiated or under way, are not important.
Colombian foreign trade with the US is undeniable: more than a third of its exports and imports are with this country.
Arguably, for breadth and depth, Colombia has eight existing FTAs with 16 countries, and that with the US is the most recent. The oldest is with the Andean Community (CAN), which began in March 1996, although its origins go back another 30 years.
The President of Analdex (the foreign trade business guild), Javier Diaz, viewed some of these treaties, emphasizing that “we must move along from business agreements”.
He said that although three months is not enough time to do an assessment, it appears that in 45 days (May 15 to June 30) Colombia increased sales to the US market by 15 percent, but bearing in mind a favorable element: exports of manufactured goods have increased.
Export products that are down include particularly coal and flowers, mainly due to price, but exporters began to see some new niches.
Notebooks were one. In one and a half months they went from $1,000 to $805,000. Electrical apparatuses were not exported, but they have now gone to $49,000 and shirts climbed from $3,000 to $574,000.
There are many more totaling $6,183,000, for a growth of 523 percent.
“We started out on the right foot because what we wanted was to grow in manufacturing and we are seeing it,” said Javier Diaz.