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Colombia Celebrates Three-Year Anniversary of Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA)

Open business environment between Canada and Colombia contributes to strong trade relationship, which continues to grow, resulting in over US$1.4 billion in exports since FTA enforced in 2011, according to Colombia’s government data.

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TORONTO - August 15, 2014 (www.investorideas.com newswire) With the three-year mark of the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA), Proexport Colombia announced today that 2013 was a year of record growth in the two countries’ trade relationship, with Colombian exports to Canada increasing by 10.6 percent to reach more than US$107 million for non-mining and non-coffee products, according to the government’s statistics agency, DANE. Since the FTA was enforced on August 15, 2011, 434 Colombian companies have exported to Canada for the first time, with the majority coming from manufacturing (41.5 percent), agribusiness (34.8 percent) and apparel (22.8 percent).

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"The rapid development of Colombia and Canada’s commercial relationship since t he implementation of the Free Trade Agreement and the growth during 2013 are significant achievements for Colombia as we seek to establish the country as an ideal place to visit and do business," said Maria Claudia Lacouture, President of Proexport, the Colombian agency charged with promoting trade, tourism and investment.

"To add to the successes achieved in 2013, in the first quarter of 2014 alone exports from Colombia to Canada have continued to grow, increasing by 158% according to government data. With growth coming from a range of sectors, including fresh flowers, agricultural products and textiles, Canadian and Colombian businesses alike are sharing in the resulting benefits of the agreement," says Mrs. Lacouture.

The Canada-Colombia FTA eliminated trade barriers, allowing for easier flow of goods between the countries. Colombian exports reach Canada’s major provinces of Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta, delivering a range of popular products such as fruits and nuts, live trees and plants, apparel and more. Between January 2014 and June 2014, Ontario, Quebec and Alberta imported the greatest amounts of goods from Colombia.

Colombian non-mining exports experienced a positive compounded growth of 14.1 percent between 2011 and 2013, growing from US$225.1 million to US$256.8 million in 2013 and showing the country’s strong economic momentum. In fact, according to DANE, in the first quarter of 2014, Colombia’s economy grew 6.4 percent in relation to the same period last year.

While from 2010 to 2013 the overall monetary value of exports from Colombia to Canada decreased, this was mainly as a result of mining and energy products, which are not affected by the FTA. In fact, non-mining products have increased in multiple ways, including the number of companies exporting, the types of products and the number of destination markets.

In 2013, the flowers and live plants industry was the largest export sector with US$36 million in sales, followed by the agribusiness industry with US$27 million in sales, according to DANE. Since the FTA was implemented, agribusiness exports have grown 33.6 percent, to reach US$205 million in sales. Key products include fresh flowers and seeds, fruit and sugar and molasses. In fact, one in three fresh products in Canada are imported; 66 percent of Colombia's exports to Canada are agricultural in nature.

From the period of August 2011 to June 2014, exports from the apparel industry grew 48.4 percent, from US$19.1 million to US$28.4 million, according to DANE. The garment subsector was the fastest growing, with an increase in exports of 78.7 percent due to demand for products such as swimwear, knits and synthetic fibers. Leather goods represented another popular export, with sales increasing over 100 percent to reach US$4.8 million.

In addition to the growing trade relationship between Canada and Colombia, according to the Balance of Payments of the Bank of the Republic, flows of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Colombia reached more than US$16.7 billion in 2013, representing an increase of 8 percent from 2012. From 2000-2013, Canada recorded a cumulative FDI in Colombia of US$2.5 billion, ranking as the ninth largest source of global FDI in Colombia.

For more information on Colombian products and the free trade agreement, please visit http://www.proexport.com.co/en.

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