When excluding oil, Colombian exports to the United States have gone up 7% since a free trade pact between the two countries came into power a year ago, acting U.S. Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank said Wednesday.
Blank’s figures are more positive than those of Colombia’s statistics agency that registered a 13% drop in total exports to the U.S. in the 11 months following the enactment of the FTA compared to the same period before the FTA came into power.
Colombia’s Trade Minister confirmed the trade agreements failed to secure and increase in exports to Colombia’s largest trading partner.
Blank confirmed Minister Sergio Diaz-Granados’s claim that the export figures were dragged down by the drop in oil exports.
“Most of the Colombian exports are oil-based and we know that world oil prices swing up and down,” Blank told W Radio.
“If you take the oil exports out, Colombian exports to the United States have risen 7% since the free trade agreement began and we’re seeing over 600 new companies exporting to the United States and a whole variety of new products coming into the United States,” said the U.S. official.
According to Colombia’s statistics agency, U.S. exports to Colombia did jump 15%. “A little bit more than Colombian exports to the U.S.,” according to Blank.
This export growth deficit does not necessarily mean her country is benefiting more from the agreement than Colombia, claimed the acting U.S. commerce secretary.
“I think it’s actually rather hard to say which country has benefited the most. I think both countries have benefited by simply the permanence provided to both of our countries, knowing that we have long term free trade and low trade barriers between us … into the future,” Blank said.
The U.S. official is in the Colombian capital Bogota to celebrate the first anniversary for the trade agreement.