Colombia’s exports to the European Union increased 10% after the first year of a provisional free trade agreement (EU-FTA), contrasting it with the decline in exports to the United States after implementation of the 2011 free trade agreement (US-FTA), according to the European Union.
Between August 2013 and July 2014, Colombian exports amounted to more than $10 billion, a 10.19% increase compared with the previous year. Colombia government statistics show similar growth, estimating a 7.6% increase in exports from January-September of 2014 compared with the same period in the previous year.
Total trade between Colombia and the 28-member EU grew by 5.53% to a total of $17.4 billion since the implementation of the deal and has been in line with growth that particularly saw a boom in 2011.
Trade with Europe
Official statistics from the European Union show that Colombia has passed Argentina to become the fourth biggest supplier of goods to the Europeans after Brazil, Mexico, and Chile.
Signed in early 2013, the trade deal between the two parties came into force in August of 2013.
Colombian exports to the EU also saw a marked- and sustained – increase in 2011 before the implementation of the free trade deal with Europe, mainly due to oil exports, according to the EU delegation’s press officer.
US free trade deal decreased exports
The growth in exports to the EU contrasts with the results of Colombia’s signed with the US government in 2011 in which exports decreased sharply.
In 2012, the year the FTA came into force, exports began the drop that accelerated last year. At the end of 2012, exports to the US had contracted 0.7% compared to 2011, according to Colombia’s statistics agency.
This drop accelerated to 15.5% in 2013, resulting in an accumulated 15.8% drop in exports to Colombia’s biggest trade partner since 2011 when the two countries still traded without a trade pact, but with a deal that cut US tariffs for Colombian imports.
In dollars, exports to the US dropped from $21.9 billion in 2011 to $18.4 billion in 2013.
Exports to US
New numbers from Colombia’s Ministry of Industry and Tourism estimates that exports to the have also dropped for this year. Compared with the period from January to September of 2013, exports have dropped close to 26%.
Much of this decline, however, can be attributed to the sharp fall in oil prices, according to the ministry.
To build support for the US-FTA, President Juan Manuel Santos had promised that exports would grow.
“It is calculated that with the FTA our exports will grow with at least 6%,” said President Juan Manuel Santos in October 2011 when the US Congress ratified the agreement.
EU-Colombia free trade: full implementation?
Colombia’s Foreign Ministry earlier this month claimed it has successfully carried out the necessary procedures for the free trade agreement with the European Union to take effect.
Both the European Union and Colombia are now waiting for the European member states to ratify the deal, which can not take effect until the last of 28 countries has approved the project.
According to the EU, the trade pact with Colombia “provides juridical stability to the commercial relations between the parties, generates new job opportunities subject to international labor standards, offers a favorable and beneficial framework for the generation of productive investments and respects multilateral standards and agreements on environmental protection and human rights.”
In the agreement, Colombia and the EU ratified multiple international covenants on human rights. The covenants were on civil and political rights, the protection of the rights of migrant workers, the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination, the prevention of torture or degrading treatment and the prevention and the punishment of the crime of genocide, among others.
According to the EU, the agreement provides numerous benefits to Colombians.
“It will deliver jobs and growth at home that will ensure the economy keeps growing, provide tariff free access to EU markets for key agricultural products including sugar, flowers, coffee, bananas and other fruit and beef, whilst protecting sensitive products such as pork, poultry, corn and rice. It will also build partnerships with international actors that can support Colombia’s progress in promoting human rights and trade union rights at home and abroad” among others.
“The agreement will bring measurable benefits to all parties, promoting growth and jobs and increasing the global competitiveness of the European Union and Colombia” added the EU.
Colombia currently has eight trade agreements with 16 countries, while agreements are currently being negotiated with Turkey, Israel, Costa Rica, Panama and the Pacific Alliance.
- Press release from EU delegation
- Exportaciones colombianas: Enero-septiembre de 2014 (Ministry of Industry and Tourism)
- Trade Agreement Between Colombia, Peru And The European Union (EU)
- Benefits Of The EU-Colombia Trade Agreement (EU)