Posts Tagged ‘U.S-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement’


We Treat Every Week like Its World Trade Week

May 23, 2012

Michael Masserman is the Executive Director for Export Policy, Promotion & Strategy for the International Trade Administration

With World Trade Week now upon us, the momentum from this past week has kept a clear spotlight on exports. We started with the re-authorization of Ex-Im Bank last Tuesday, which included an increase in the limit on total financing the bank can guarantee borrowers, from $100 billion to $140 billion. This is great news, since the bank’s loans support 200,000 jobs at big and small companies nationwide. That same day, the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement went into force, which means that 80 percent of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial products to Colombia are now duty-free. Additionally, more than half of U.S. exports of agricultural commodities to Colombia became duty-free. This agreement also provides significant access to Colombia’s $180 billion services market – check the FTA Tariff toolto see the tariff lines on your goods and services.

Michael Masserman (center) with Senior International Trade Specialist Mathew Woodlee, Vice President of Product Development for Datacard Michael Baxter, and Senior Advisor to the President & CEO for Government Relations at Datacard Leonard Levine.

Michael Masserman (center) with Senior International Trade Specialist Mathew Woodlee, Vice President of Product Development for Datacard Michael Baxter, and Senior Advisor to the President & CEO for Government Relations at Datacard Leonard Levine.

Last Thursday, 41 companies and organizations joined Commerce Secretary John Bryson at the White House for the presentation of the “E” Awards, honoring those that have made a significant contribution to increasing American exports this past year. The “E” Award recipients were from all across the country, with 35 of them being small or medium businesses and 20 being manufacturers. They are the critical players in helping us achieve record successes in exports, and are the ones contributing to the President’s National Export Initiative (NEI) goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014 to support American jobs.

We know that with exports, the action lies outside of Washington, D.C.  That’s why we’ve partnered with the Brookings Institute to localize the NEI through the Metro Export Initiative, piloted in Los Angeles, Syracuse, Portland and Minneapolis. Key businesses from Syracuse came to Commerce last week to discuss the implementation of their Metro Export Plan, and I was in Minneapolis to meet with their core team along with the District Export Council.

I also had the chance to visit Datacard, which manufactures high-tech machines that print secure government ID cards, credit cards, microchip-laden smart cards and passports. Through the help of our U.S. Export Assistance Center and our Advocacy Center, Datacard’s sales hit a record $450 million in 2011, with 70 percent coming from outside of the U.S. That is the model for export success.

As the President says in his World Trade Week proclamation, “As we work to expand economic opportunity here at home, we are reminded how three proud words, ‘Made in America,’ will ensure our next generation inherits an economy built to last.”


Growth Opportunities for U.S.-Colombia Textile Trade

May 21, 2012

Laurie Mease is a Business & Industry Specialist with the International Trade Administration’s Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA).  Richard Stetson is an International Trade Specialist with OTEXA.

Yarn and fabric trade between the United States and Colombia has grown by more than 30 percent since 2002. And with the recent implementation of the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement, this figure is destined to grow in the coming years.

In 2008, we had the opportunity to visit Medellín, Colombia to participate in the Colombiatex trade show. We visited eight manufacturing facilities and were impressed with the diversity, sophistication, and maturity of the Colombian textile and apparel industry. We observed significant capital investment in machinery and technology. Many of the manufacturers have operations which encompass all of the necessary manufacturing processes under one roof: they spin yarn, knit and weave fabric, and assemble apparel. Unlike most of the textiles and apparel produced in Central America and the Caribbean, the majority of Colombia’s products are intended for sale in Colombia’s domestic market or for export to Venezuela, Mexico, and other markets in Latin America.


U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement Now in Force!

Yarn loaded in production machinery at Fabricato, a Medellin-based textile manufacturer. (Photo Colombiatex)

Yarn loaded in production machinery at Fabricato, a Medellin-based textile manufacturer. (Photo Colombiatex)

Many of Colombia’s textile and apparel inputs, including fibers, yarns, and fabrics, are purchased from U.S. suppliers. Until the entry into force of the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA), these inputs have been subject to duties of up to 20 percent, with the exception of inputs used in apparel qualifying for trade preferences under the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA). With the TPA in place, tariffs will be eliminated, reducing costs, and providing greater incentive for Colombian firms to buy U.S. fibers, yarns, and fabrics and for U.S. firms to invest in Colombia.  It’s a win-win for both the U.S. and Colombian textile and apparel industries.

In addition to duty-free benefits, the TPA contains several important flexibilities and protections to make sure that the U.S. industry is not harmed by the flow of imports from Colombia. For example, the TPA contains a textile-specific safeguard mechanism that allows most favored nation (MFN) tariffs to be temporarily re-imposed if a surge in duty-free imports from Colombia is shown to be causing or threatening to cause serious damage to domestic industry. The TPA also includes specific customs cooperation language for enforcing measures affecting trade in textile and apparel goods to help prevent the circumvention of the agreement’s rules on the origin of inputs and finishing processes.

As the TPA enters into force, we’re already starting to see signs of growth in U.S. textile and apparel sales to Colombia. U.S. exports of textiles and apparel to Colombia in 2011 were up 33 percent over 2010, with exports totaling $165 million in 2011.  Exports should further increase over the next few years due to the immediate duty-free market access for all qualifying textile and apparel goods entering Colombia under the TPA.  U.S. textile producers will have more opportunities than ever before to sell their goods in the Colombian market.

On the flip side, apparel imports from Colombia have been declining since 2005.  There are several possible explanations for this decline, including the end of global quotas for textile and apparel goods in 2005, the global economic downturn of 2008/2009, and, most recently, the uncertainties surrounding sourcing from Colombia.  Between the ATPDEA being enacted and terminated five times, and the stalled and unknown implementation date of the TPA, U.S. importers have been hesitant to source from Colombia.  With the implementation of the TPA on May15, no expiration date for duty-free benefits, and certain beneficial textile provisions, we expect sourcing of apparel from Colombia to gradually increase.

There is a wealth of information available on our website for companies interested in taking advantage of the new sales opportunities offered by the U.S.-Colombia TPA. Please visit our website or contact us via email with any questions.


World Trade Month 2012: Celebrating Progress, Building for the Future

May 8, 2012

Francisco Sánchez is the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

It’s that time of year again.

May is World Trade Month, a time to reaffirm the important role that international trade plays in U.S. economic growth. 

Francisco Sanchez (center) with the members of the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board at Pow Wow in Los Angeles, CA

Francisco Sanchez (center) with the members of the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board at Pow Wow in Los Angeles, CA

In today’s global economy, it is more important than ever for American businesses to tap into the abundance of opportunities overseas.  95 percent of the world’s consumers are located outside our borders; helping companies reach them is key to our nation’s economic success and future.   

At the Department of Commerce, we are providing this kind of help in a variety of forms — from raising awareness, to offering unique insight into markets and sectors, to providing counsel that helps companies navigate through all the regulatory red tape when doing business abroad. 

As a result of these kinds of efforts, American businesses are finding new opportunities in the global marketplace.  In 2011, American businesses sold $2.1 trillion dollars worth of goods and services to overseas customers — an all-time record.  These sales made an impact far beyond financial statements: they also benefited people and families. 

Last year, U.S. exports supported roughly 10 million jobs, helping Americans — from all corners of the country — stimulate their local economies, while paying their rents, buying their groceries, taking care of their children’s tuition bills and much more. 

So the formula is clear: whenever U.S. exports increase, the American people benefit.  This is why the Department of Commerce is firmly committed to helping more U.S. businesses succeed in the global markets.

We are doing this work in a number of ways. 

Last month, for example, I was proud to participate in the Western Hemisphere Business Opportunities Forum, where U.S. businesses engaged with our Commercial Officers to talk about the wide-range of opportunities across the region. 

We now export more to the Western Hemisphere than to any other region in the world, and there are great possibilities to do more, especially after the U.S. – Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement takes effect on May 15th.  Through this business forum and other efforts, we are working diligently to ensure that American companies are well positioned to fulfill this enormous promise. 

Another exciting event that took place in April was the U.S. Travel Association’s International Pow Wow Event, which strives to boost U.S. tourism.  Last year, 62 million international visitors traveled to the United States, and for good reason.  There is no place like America, with its unique sites, culture and history. 

These visitors spent a record $153 billion dollars on things like restaurants, hotels, and shopping, strengthening bottom lines in a variety of sectors.  At Pow Wow, we pledged to continue to work with partners to support this vital industry.  And, during this World Trade Month and beyond, we renew our commitment to increasing U.S. exports in all industries. 

Throughout May, there will be a series of state and local events taking place nationwide to provide support to U.S. businesses looking to export their goods and services around the world. 

Later this month, we’ll be releasing a special edition of International Trade Update to report on many of these events so stay tuned.

In the meantime, we at the Department of Commerce look forward to working with you to link American businesses to the opportunities overseas, and help them build for the future. 

Together, we can make this World Trade Month the most memorable yet. 

So let’s get to work.