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November 2011

October 28, 2011

Yakima Herald-Republic

News out of Washington, D.C., isn't always good for farmers, but a couple of developments earlier this month actually will make life easier for Yakima Valley growers and the people who depend on them for jobs. Both were long in coming. On Oct. 12, Congress ended a four-year drought in approving new trade partnerships as it ratified free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. Two days later, a Mexican trucking firm received a permit to deliver goods inside the United States.

October 30, 2011

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

By Noelle Nikpour, Fox News Commentator

That will be happening because of the recent passage of free-trade agreements between the United States and South Korea, Colombia and Panama. The agreements are the latest triumph for economic conservatives like the Club for Growth, who believe that free people making free-market decisions is best for everyone regardless of their nationalities.

October 29, 2011

Appleton Post Crescent

By Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI)

Job creators across Wisconsin have come out in strong support of these agreements because they will open the door to many markets that were once nearly impossible for U.S. businesses to compete in. Wisconsin companies have had to jump extra hurdles in order to ship goods to Colombia, Panama or South Korea, but thanks to these trade agreements they will be able to conduct business on a more even playing field. This will not only benefit the diverse industries that rely on selling their goods overseas, but will also help the many Wisconsinites who are struggling to find work.

October 27, 2011

New York Times

By Layna Mosley, Professor of Political Science, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

The passage this month of free trade agreements may be a victory not only for President Obama, but also for workers in Colombia, Panama and South Korea. Although the anticipated economic consequences of these agreements are small, these pacts also offer a mechanism for improving workers’ rights in partner countries.

October 28, 2011

Savannah Morning News

As the second busiest exporting port in the country, Savannah should reap benefits as well. Overall, exports accounted for 53 percent of the ports’ total containerized cargo, growing by 12 percent in the last fiscal year. For FY2011, the port moved nearly 9 percent of all U.S. containerized cargo and 12.5 percent of the nation’s containerized exports. “Passage of the free trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia will have a direct impact on Georgia’s ports and the state’s important agricultural sector,” said GPA executive director Curtis J. Foltz.

October 27, 2011

Dow Jones Newswires

Colombia's state-run oil firm Ecopetrol SA said Thursday that it had found oil in an exploratory well in the Gulf of Mexico, the company's first success in that region. Ecopetrol said that the Logan 1 well showed the presence of oil and that the new studies were being carried out to determine the volume of the discovery.

October 27, 2011

The Capital (MD)

Recently, President Barack Obama signed free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. Currently, 1 percent of U.S. companies export their goods, largely to Canada and Mexico. Canada was Maryland's largest international market last year, followed by the Netherlands and China. The state's export shipments of merchandise totaled $10.2 billion last year, officials said. Export-supported jobs linked to manufacturing account for just under 2 percent of Maryland's private-sector employment, while 10 percent of the state's manufacturing workers depend on exports for their jobs.

November 1, 2011

Embassy of Colombia Press Release

 “I think he will be an asset to our Government and it is good news for the country. The Ministry of Labor is being created on a day when we fulfilled our promise to lower unemployment to the single digits. Fortunately, for the government and the country, Mr. Rafael Pardo has accepted this appointment,” said President Santos while welcoming Pardo to his new cabinet position.

November 1, 2011

Colombia Reports

Bogota's Chamber of Commerce and Proexport, Colombia's trade and tourism promotion agency formed an alliance to improve the supply of exportable goods from Bogota companies, financial publication Dinero reported Tuesday. The aim of the alliance is to offer complementary services leading to preparation, adaption, and international promotion of exportable goods from the country's capital.

November 1, 2011

Colombia Reports

 Colombia's newly appointed labor minister said Tuesday that it is clear that what Colombians need is decent and dignified work within the country, according to an interview with Caracol Radio. The new Labor Minister Rafael Pardo, previous director of the Liberal Party, said "there are currently 14 million Colombians who work informally and precariously on a daily basis, which indicates that the ministry is not just about jobs, but it must also have a social value, dealing with other issues that affect the citizenship."

November 1, 2011

Colombia Reports

President Juan Manuel Santos signed a decree on Monday implementing Colombia's newly formed National Intelligence Agency (ANI) in place of the disgraced Department of Administrative Security (DAS). The Colombian government declared that the new agency, headed by former Navy commander Alvaro Echandia, is a modern institution dedicated exclusively to intelligence and counter-intelligence gathering in the state.

November 1, 2011

The Weekly Standard (Blog Post)

By Ambassador Jaime Darenblum, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute & Director, Hudson Institute's Center for Latin American Studies

The long, tiring debate over the FTA—which began five years ago, when the agreement was first completed—showed that popular perceptions of Colombia are stuck in a time warp. Not only has the country become a much safer and less violent place than it was in the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s, it has also become one of the most promising economies in the Western Hemisphere. Last year, veteran Latin America correspondent Mac Margolis described Colombia as “a prospering dynamo,” noting that foreign direct investment (FDI) increased fivefold—and per capita GDP doubled—between 2002 and 2010. For that matter, the country received more than $7 billion worth of FDI during the first six months of 2011, an increase of 91.4 percent over the equivalent period in 2010. As the Wall Street Journal reported in mid-September, Colombia is one of six developing nations that “are being touted as the next generation of tiger economies.” Known by the acronym CIVETS, this group also includes Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey, and South Africa.

November 2, 2011

Colombia Reports

Colombia was awarded its best ranking yet in the United Nations' 2011 Human Development Index, but is also recognized for its exceptional inequality.Overall, Colombia ranked 87 out of 187 on the 2011 Human Development Index (HDI), between Armenia and Iran. The United Nations Development Programme grouped Colombia in the “High Human Development Category.”

November 2, 2011

Reuters

The MILA bourse, which integrates the stock exchanges of Colombia, Chile and Peru, could see higher volume next year despite its weak debut in May, stock brokers from the region said. MILA, which cross-lists shares of companies listed in the three countries' bourses, has generated only about $3.8 million in additional volume since it started, according to Chile's stock exchange…. But strong economic growth in Peru, Chile and Colombia should help attract more capital to MILA over the longer-term, brokers say.

November 1, 2011

Fox News

With the fall apple harvest winding down in Washington state, growers would normally be scaling back jobs, but not this year. Three new free trade agreements passed by Congress and signed by President Obama have farmers gearing up for a bumper crop of new business.

November 4, 2011

Xinhua

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Thursday urged G20 leaders to find a solution to the world-rattling European financial crisis."Many non-member countries are hoping for a solution from the G20," Santos said in Bogota.

November 3, 2011

Colombia Reports

Portugal's foreign trade minister has said Colombia's economy is the most impressive in Latin America during a business mission to encourage more investment between the two countries, Spanish agency EFE reported Thursday.

November 7, 2011

Corn & Soybean Digest

Leaders of the U.S. wheat industry are applauding President Barack Obama’s signing of three long-pending free trade agreements (FTAs) with Colombia, Panama and South Korea…. “We are very pleased to see these FTAs signed into law and we have already started the push to win back the wheat export business we lost without them,” [U.S. Wheat Associates Chairman Randy] Suess says.

November 7, 2011

Area Development Online

While it has taken an inordinately long time to get trade agreements with South Korea, Panama, and Colombia approved, many believe the benefits will prove to be worth the wait. Step by step, the trade agreements with South Korea, Panama, and Colombia inched forward to becoming a reality.

November 9, 2011

Associated Press

Alabama's agriculture commissioner pushed for the new free trade agreement with Colombia and now he's trying to make sure Alabama benefits from it….Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan left Wednesday for a five-day trip. Spokesman Brett Hall says Colombian officials invited McMillan to visit Bogota because of his vocal support for the agreement.

November 8, 2011

Colombia Reports

A United States trade delegation arrived in Colombia Monday to further the implementation of the recently ratified free trade agreement between the two countries. The delegation, headed by Miriam Sapiro, deputy trade representative of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, will meet with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Vice Trade Minister Gabriel Duque.

November 13, 2011

Miami Herald

Colombia is expected to see a record level of exports and foreign direct investment this year as the nation continues to burnish its image as an increasingly safe and strategic place to do business. The nation’s tough-on-crime policies have brought the homicide rate down 50 percent over the last decade and a slew of new trade agreements with Europe, Canada and the United States have made it a hot spot for corporations.

November 13, 2011

Miami Herald

Colombia is expected to see a record level of exports and foreign direct investment this year as the nation continues to burnish its image as an increasingly safe and strategic place to do business. The nation’s tough-on-crime policies have brought the homicide rate down 50 percent over the last decade and a slew of new trade agreements with Europe, Canada and the United States have made it a hot spot for corporations.

November 15, 2011

Time LIVE

By David Shapiro, Staff Writer

And 10 days ago…I was fortunate to meet the man who was largely responsible for transforming Colombia from a country torn apart by armed conflict into a secure and stable nation with attractive investment opportunities. Colombia is the third largest Spanish-speaking country in the world, after Mexico and Spain, with a population of 46 million. In terms of economic output it is probably on a par with South Africa. Alvaro Uribe Vélez, 59, was the president of Colombia from 2002 to last year.

November 15, 2011

VentureBeat

By Alan Colmenares, Facilitator for the Founder Institute program in Colombia

These are just the most recent, highest profile moves we’ve seen in Colombia, a country with the fourth largest economy in the region. Overall, we’re seeing about half a dozen quality tech startups launch here every year. Some are local plays and some are companies from other countries in the region. Venture funding has been scarce, but new initiatives such as Startup Weekend, international accelerator the Founder Institute and a corporate venture fund from telecommunications firm Telefonica could help improve this situation.

November 17, 2011

Ex-Im Bank

Attendees will learn: why Colombia is one of Ex-Im Bank's nine hottest markets; how Colombia's fast-growing GDP and infrastructure projects provide an excellent opportunity for a broad range of high-quality American capital goods and services; about the Government of Colombia's commitment to creating more than $25b in infrastructure projects and its National Development plan; why Colombia ranks 5th among the top countries on investor protection; how the Free Trade Agreement improves the Colombian legal environment for U.S. investors. 

November 15, 2011

USAgNet

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is leading a mission with 26 U.S. businesses to promote trade with Panama and Colombia this week. This is the largest delegation of U.S. companies ever to participate in a USDA agricultural trade mission….In 2010, U.S. farm exports to Colombia totaled $851 million. When the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement is fully implemented, it's estimated that U.S. agricultural exports will increase by $371 million annually.

November 14, 2011

Colombia Reports

Colombia's Defense Minister began an official visit to the United States Monday to meet with various high ranking officials. Juan Carlos Pinzon said in a public statement that the purpose of his visit is to "strengthen matters of security and defense between the two countries."

November 27, 2011

Tampa Bay Times

The free trade agreement with the United States alone is expected to boost annual revenue by $30 billion a year and create 300,000 jobs in this Andean nation, as tariffs on more than 80 percent of all exports and imports between the two nations are phased out.

November 25, 2011

LA Times

Currently the seventh-largest foreign supplier of crude oil to the United States, Colombia is on track to play a bigger role — and soon. The South American country is ramping up production and expects to hit 1.5 million barrels a day by 2015. That would be a 50% increase over current output.

November 25, 2011

Colombia Reports

Bogota is the fifth best Latin American city for doing business, according to Chilean magazine America Economia. The report, 'The best cities for doing business in Latin America 2011' shows that Buenos Aires is the Latin American city most conducive to business, followed by Sao Paulo, Santiago, and Miami. Bogota left the cities of Rio de Janeiro, Lima, Monterrey, Mexico City and Montevideo trailing in its wake.

November 28, 2011

Colombia Reports

Colombia's government allocates millions of dollars to fund a massive increase in free public education in 2012. Education Minister Maria Fernanda Campo announced a $7.7 billion budget for the coming year, $256 million of which will pay for free education to be extended by six years. A statement on the Ministry for Education website said, "This decision is a very important advance for closing gaps in equality and access to education, for all children and young people.

November 28, 2011

Colombia Reports

UNESCO added the indigenous culture of Colombia's Yurupari shamans to the Intangible Cultural Heritage List on Sunday. After meeting in Bali, Indonesia, experts from UNESCO's intergovernmental committee, comprising 24 different countries, recognized the "exemplary nature" of the indigenous group's culture after evaluating the Yurupari's spiritual characteristics and physical knowledge.

November 26, 2011

LA Times

Over the last decade, butterfly exporter Alas de Colombia has given disadvantaged women here steady incomes and converted the iconography of this once war-torn valley from AK-47s and combat fatigues to fluttery symbols of peace and hope. Based in nearby Cali, Alas de Colombia is owned by the mother-daughter team of Patricia and Vanessa Restrepo, who saw an opening in a growing market for butterflies at weddings and nature exhibits.

November 21, 2011

Associated Press

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday pledged to strengthen ties between their countries as the Latin American leader sought to win support for his domestic reform program. Cameron praised Santos’s leadership, saying Britain was “very impressed” with the president’s economic agenda and he hopes the partnership between the two countries will continue to grow amid “great opportunities for growing trade and investment.”

November 29, 2011

LA Times

When it comes to uses of bamboo, many think of chopsticks, panda food or patio furniture. Simon Velez, on the other hand, envisions bus stations, churches or bridges. The Bogota, Colombia-based architect is leading a global crusade for new uses of the plant, a giant member of the grass family, as a strong, eco-sustainable, aesthetically pleasing material that can substitute for wood and concrete in many projects.