While the governments of Colombia and the U.S. celebrate the first anniversary of a free trade agreement between the countries, government statistics show there is little to celebrate for Colombian exporters who saw exports drop 13%.
According to Colombia’s statistics agency DANE, Colombian exporters sold a total 0f $16.8 billion in products and services to U.S. importers between June 2012 and March 2013. The year before this was $19.2 billion.
Colombian exports to the US
The drop in exports is contrary to promises made by the Colombian government. Days before the implementation of the free trade agreement on May 15 last year, Trade Minister Sergio Diaz-Granados said his ministry estimated a 10% increase in exports to the U.S.
While Colombian exporters saw their sales drop significantly, American businesses seem to have been able to benefit from the trade pact. Imports from the U.S. went up 15% between June and February.
Colombian imports from the US
The trade pact between the two countries took more than six years to be ratified as labor rights workers, U.S. unions and U.S. President Barack Obama’s own Democratic Party opposed the treaty over labor rights violations in Colombia.
Colombian opponents of the then-proposed pact told Colombia Reports that the country’s labor rights situation was a false argument and weakening the South American country from bargaining a good deal with its much larger trading partner.
U.S. Acting Secretary of Commerce will be in Colombia’s capital Bogota Wednesday to celebrate the first year of free trade between the two trade partners.
- Colombia export statistics (DANE)
- Colombia import statistics (DANE)
- US International trade in Goods and services – March 2013 (US Census Bureau / US Bureau of Economic Analysis)