Nearly 2,000 new companies are exporting to the U.S. for the first time, especially small-to-medium enterprises.
Mid-May marks the third anniversary of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Procolombia, a government trade promotion agency, has announced that 1,908 Colombian companies have exported to the United States for the first time, helping to bring 434 new non-mining and non-coffee products to market. Colombian small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) have experienced the most gains since 2012, as nearly all of the new businesses comprise SMEs within the manufacturing, clothing and agribusiness industries.
“The Free Trade Agreement has opened the door for new business opportunities that support economic growth in both Colombia and the U.S.,” said Maria Claudia Lacouture, president of Procolombia. “Colombian companies, in particular small and medium-sized businesses, have established themselves in the U.S. market with innovative, high-value products and are becoming top suppliers for large retail stores.”
The U.S.-Colombia FTA took effect on May 15, 2012, eliminating trade barriers and allowing billions of dollars of exports to flow between the two counties. While the overall monetary amount of exports from Colombia to the U.S. has decreased since the FTA’s implementation, the increase in the number of companies exporting, the types of products and the number of destination markets has significantly benefited the Colombian economy
A range of new products
According to Procolombia, during the last year, non-mining exports grew by almost 11 percent, from US$3.425 million in 2013 to US$3.796 million in 2014. Agricultural exports increased by 7 percent from 2013 to 2014, with a total of 62 new products. Items such as sugar and honey and fresh flowers have seen the greatest sales during this time period, with net growth of US$39.5 million and US$26.9 million, respectively
Within the manufacturing industry, exports increased by 8.9 percent from 2013 to 2014, with a total of 317 new products. The aluminum sector reported a net growth of US$28.1 million year over year. Other main exports include truck parts, batteries and centrifuges.
At the end of 2014, more than 320 clothing companies exported for the first time, offering 52 new products, such as rugs and upholstery items, knee pads and anklet socks and steel-tip shoes. The United States was the main destination for Colombian clothing exports in 2014.
Overall, the U.S. market accounted for nearly 26 percent of Colombia’s total exports in 2014, resulting in US$54.8 million in sales. Since the signing of the FTA, more than 40 North American cities have purchased Colombian products. American cities that purchased the largest number of products exported by Colombia include Miami, Fla., Houston Texas, and New York, N.Y.