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May 2012

May 6, 2012

Huffington Post

Instead I spent my time drinking fine wines, enjoying cappuccinos at scenic cafes, sampling creative Colombian cuisine, stopping in edgy art galleries and lounging beside heated swimming pools. There are countless reasons to visit Colombia. Here are 20 just to get you started on discovering this sometimes misunderstood country.

May 6, 2012

Colombia Reports

According to Alvez, "The improvement in the image of the country in general is one of the reasons why more organizations are confident in coming to Colombia and of course this improvement is also seen in Bogota." Bogota is now sixth in the ICCA ranking of city hosts of international events. When asked why Bogota had moved up the ranking, Alvez said, "Bogota is without doubt the most important city in Colombia. It is the capital of the country and has the best air transport connection, not to mention its infrastructure and first class services."

May 4, 2012

Dow Jones

The International Monetary Fund on Friday recertified Colombia's qualification for a $6 billion Flexible Credit Line approved a year ago. "Colombia's continued resilience to global financial turbulence and its vigorous growth during the past year attest to its strong fundamentals and skillful policy management," the Washington-based IMF said in a statement.

May 3, 2012

Financial Times

This, in miniature, is the story of modern Colombia. In a decade, it has gone from a no-go zone crawled over by narco-trafficking guerrillas and paramilitaries, to a would-be recreational rest spot and emerging regional power that Wall Street enthusiasts call the “New Brazil” and Time recently dubbed the “comeback” country. Leading this resurgence is Juan Manuel Santos. Defence minister under former president Álvaro Uribe and now president himself Mr. Santos has assembled perhaps the most technocratic and internationally-engaged administration in the Americas.

May 3, 2012

Miami Today

With the Colombia Free Trade Agreement set to take effect this month, those in Miami's international trade industry should be among the winners, but concerns about Colombian workers linger. The agreement is expected to open a higher level of trade between the US and Colombia. With Colombia already its second-largest trading partner, Miami trade businesses are expected to be a chief beneficiary of the agreement.

May 2, 2012

Prensa Latina

Ministers of Defence of Colombia, Juan Carlos Pinzón, and Brazil, Celso Amorim, hold a bilateral meeting on Wednesday in which they will review common plans on security and cooperation. Both owners hope to strengthen the political and strategic relationship between the two countries on border security, protecting the Amazon and regional integration processes, according to a statement from the Colombian Ministry of Defense.

May 8, 2012

Financial Times

It is a sign of how far perceptions of Colombia have changed that 33 years ago Time Magazine ran a cover with the scurrilous title, “The Colombian connection: billions in pot & coke” stencilled over the psychedelic image of a cannabis leaf. Today, South America’s third-biggest economy is again in the public eye, albeit for less controversial reasons. Last month, Time ran a full face photograph of president Juan Manuel Santos on its cover with the title: “The Colombian comeback: from nearly failed state to emerging global player.”

May 7, 2012

eTurboNews.com

JetBlue Airways today is launching its second route to Colombia's vibrant capital city of Bogota with a daily nonstop flight from South Florida's Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. In addition to its new Fort Lauderdale route, JetBlue has offered a successful daily service between Bogota and Orlando International Airport for more than three years.

May 7, 2012

Miami Herald

By Jerry Haar

After a long journey from conception to gestation, the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will become a reality on May 15. The accord will render clear benefits for both sides. Colombia remains the third largest market in Latin America for U.S. exports and the second most important for small- and medium-sized firms.

May 3, 2012

Financial Times

This, in miniature, is the story of modern Colombia. In a decade, it has gone from a no-go zone crawled over by narco-trafficking guerrillas and paramilitaries, to a would-be recreational rest spot and emerging regional power that Wall Street enthusiasts call the “New Brazil” and Time recently dubbed the “comeback” country. Leading this resurgence is Juan Manuel Santos. Defence minister under former president Álvaro Uribe and now president himself Mr. Santos has assembled perhaps the most technocratic and internationally-engaged administration in the Americas.

May 9, 2012

Embassy of Colombia

Con el apoyo de la Cancillería y su Plan de Promoción de Colombia en el Exterior, a través de la Embajada en Washington, artistas de la Escuela Circo Para Todos se presentaron en el festival ‘Look Both Ways: Street Arts Across America’, organizado por el Kennedy Center,  y que se llevó a cabo este 8 y 9 demayo en la capital estadounidense.

May 8, 2012

Bloomberg

Colombia, the second-largest supplier of Arabica coffee beans, said the harvest rose 11 percent in April and may continue rising for the rest of this year. Output rose to 580,000 bags from 523,000 bags in the year- earlier period, Colombia’s National Federation of Coffee Growers said in a statement today. Each bag weighs 60 kilograms (132 pounds).

May 11, 2012

Colombia Reports

The annual BogotAfro week celebrates the artistic, intellectual and social contributions of Afro-Colombians to the country. The festival will host events throughout Bogota featuring the music, food, art, and folklore of the Afro-Colombian community.

May 9, 2012

Del 9 al 13 de Mayo, Washington se Deleita con la Música de Totó la Momposina y Sus Tambores
Washington, DC - Con el apoyo de la Cancillería y su Plan de Promoción de Colombia en el Exterior, a través de la Embajada en Washington, 'Totó la Momposina y sus tambores' se presentarán del 9 al 13 de mayo en el Kennedy Center, durante el evento 'Noche Latina', que organiza el Washington Ballet.
En esta fiesta que celebra la música, la danza y la cultura latinoamericana, Totó la Momposina realizará siete presentaciones en donde interpretará canciones de su repertorio tradicional y otras de Celia Cruz, en homenaje a esta diva latinoamericana.
Así mismo, el Washington Ballet, bajo la dirección de Septime Webre, presentará el estreno mundial de una coreografía de la colombiana Anabelle López Ochoa, al igual que coreografías de Trey McIntyre y Edward Liand.
Noche Latina cuenta historias mágicas sobre la vida, amor y tradición en América Latina y España a través de las canciones y el talento de divas latinoamericanas como Celia Cruz, Chavela Vargas y María Dolores Pradera, entre otras.
Totó la Momposina y sus tambores será el único grupo musical que se presentará en vivo con el Washington Ballet.
A continuación, el programa de las presentaciones de Totó la Momposina y sus tambores:
-Miércoles, 9 de mayo de 2012
Hora: 8:00 p.m.
-Jueves, 10 de mayo de 2012
Hora: 8:00 p.m.
-Viernes, 11 de mayo de 2012
Hora: 8:00 p.m.
-Sábado, 12 de mayo de 2012
Horas: 2:30 p.m. y 8:00 p.m.
-Domingo, 13 de mayo: 1:30 p.m. y 7:30 p.m.
Totó la Momposina
Totó la Momposina es uno de los iconos folclóricos más representativos de la música colombiana. Totó interpreta diversos tipos de música folclórica como la cumbia, bullerengue, chalupas, garabatos y mapalé. Es famosa por la energía que transmite en sus conciertos, convirtiéndolos en verdaderas fiestas carnavalescas.
Su trabajo combina géneros musicales africanos, indígenas y españoles. Su orquesta de 12 músicos incluye instrumentos indígenas como gaita, tambores mayor y llamador y maracas.
En 1982, la artista se presentó en la ceremonia de los Premios Nobel cuando el escritor Gabriel Garcia Márquez recibió este premio. Totó proviene de Mompox, lugar ubicado a orillas del Rio Magdalena y que en 1995 fue declarado como Patrimonio de la Humanidad por la Unesco.

May 4, 2012

Con Artistas de Circo, Colombia Participa Este 8 y 9 de Mayo en Festival en Washington
Washington, D.C. - 4 de mayo de 2012. Con el apoyo de la Cancillería y su Plan de Promoción de Colombia en el Exterior, a través de la Embajada en Washington, artistas de la Escuela Circo Para Todos se presentarán en el festival 'Look Both Ways: Street Arts Across America', organizado por el Kennedy Center, y que se llevará a cabo este 8 y 9 de mayo en la capital estadounidense.
En esta ocasión, Circo Para Todos presentará "A que te sabe", una producción dirigida por Gustavo Gómez, quien junto con 8 artistas, presentarán un fascinante recorrido por las distintas regiones de Colombia a través de la acrobacia.
Al son de ritmos tradicionales de música colombiana y latinoamericana, el circo contemporáneo se une para traer un poco de Colombia mediante esta nueva producción creada y concebida por los mismos artistas.
Los artistas colombianos harán una presentación en el Kennedy Center el 8 de mayo y, posteriormente, el 9 de mayo, estarán al aire libre en el céntrico Farragut Square con una impresionante muestra de acrobacia de piso y un espectáculo aéreo nunca antes visto.
Circo Para Todos (CPT) fue fundada en 1995 por el colombiano Héctor Fabio Cobo y la inglesa Felicity Simpson, artistas profesionales de circo y variedades que decidieron emprender este gran proyecto en Colombia para ofrecer a niños y jóvenes desfavorecidos y de diferentes orígenes culturales, la oportunidad de cursar una carrera en artes circenses de alto nivel.
CPT cuenta con el reconocimiento como primera escuela profesional de circo con vocación social en el mundo. El modelo iniciado en Colombia ha sido punto de referencia para el desarrollo de proyectos similares a nivel mundial, inspirando la creación de iniciativas similares en Chile, Argentina, Brasil y Sudáfrica.
En el año 2002, Felicity Simpson crea la agencia artística Circolombia que trabaja con los artistas egresados de Circo Para Todos, promoviendo la inserción laboral de dichos jóvenes y ofreciéndoles la posibilidad de desarrollar su carrera artística en los principales escenarios artísticos en el mundo.

May 14, 2012

U.S.-Colombia FTA Set to Enter into Force Tomorrow, May 15th
Agreement to Generate Increased Trade, Investment and Job Creation Opportunities in Both Countries
 
Washington, DC — The U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will officially enter into force tomorrow, May 15, 2012, just one month after Presidents Obama and Santos announced the progress on implementation in Cartagena, Colombia. Approved by the U.S. Congress on October 12, 2011, the agreement is expected to expand both countries’ economies through increased exports, investment and job creation.
 
“With today’s implementation of the U.S.-Colombia FTA, our two nations will have entered into a new phase of our longstanding economic partnership and bilateral alliance,” said Colombian Ambassador to the United States, Gabriel Silva. “The FTA is a symbol of the future of the U.S.-Colombia partnership, and its implementation could not come at a better time. From expanding opportunities for complementary agricultural trade to opening up access to services industries and ensuring the protection of intellectual property, labor rights and the environment, the FTA is not just a trade agreement – it is a new platform for economic partnership.”
 
The United States is already Colombia’s largest trading partner, and Colombia is the United States' third-largest export market in Latin America behind Mexico and Brazil. With the implementation of the U.S.-Colombia FTA:

  • Over 80 percent of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial products to Colombia are now duty-free, including agricultural and construction equipment, building products, aircraft and parts, fertilizers, information technology equipment, medical scientific equipment, and wood.

  • With average Colombian tariffs on U.S. industrial exports formerly ranging from 7.4 to 14.6 percent, this enhanced market access will substantially increase U.S. exports.

  • More than half of U.S. exports of agricultural commodities to Colombia are now duty-free, including wheat, barley, soybeans, high-quality beef, bacon, and almost all fruit and vegetable products.

  • Virtually all remaining Colombian tariffs will be eliminated within 15 years.
  • The agreement provides significant new access to Colombia’s $180 billion services industry, supporting increased opportunities for U.S. service providers.
  • The International Trade Commission has estimated that the tariff reductions in the Agreement will expand exports of U.S. goods alone by more than $1.1 billion, supporting thousands of additional U.S. jobs.

  •  The Agreement is expected to increase U.S. GDP by $2.5 billion.

 
In addition, Colombia will see significant benefits as well:

  • The FTA creates a stable framework that will foster investment and economic growth in Colombia.

  • Colombian firms can now develop long-term business plans and make the necessary investments to realize opportunities in the U.S. market.
  • Colombia is now on the same playing field as other Latin American economic partners such as Peru, Chile, Mexico and Central America.

  • As a result of the FTA, GDP growth is predicted to rise between 0.5 and one percentage point higher every year. 
  • Colombia’s unemployment rate is predicted to drop one percentage point and 500,000 additional jobs will be created within five years.

“As our countries embark on the implementation of this agreement, we welcome a new opportunity to reaffirm to the world that we are two equal partners bound together by the ideals of progress, prosperity and opportunity,” concluded Ambassador Silva.

May 14, 2012

Embassy of Colombia Press Release

Washington, DC — The U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will officially enter into force tomorrow, May 15, 2012, just one month after Presidents Obama and Santos announced the progress on implementation in Cartagena, Colombia. Approved by the U.S. Congress on October 12, 2011, the agreement is expected to expand both countries’ economies through increased exports, investment and job creation.

May 14, 2012

Colombia Reports

Colombia's first export to the United States under the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement will be a shipment of 4,200 boxes of flowers, Portfolio News reported Sunday. A plane carrying the flowers will leave Bogota Monday night and arrive in Miami Tuesday May 15, when the treaty formally comes into effect.

May 15, 2012

Colombian Embassy Launches Newly Updated Website

Washington, DC — On the occasion of the implementation of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the Embassy of Colombia today launched a newly updated version of its official website – www.colombiaemb.org. The site has been updated with a new design and content, all aimed at highlighting key information about Colombia, its history and culture, and the longstanding bilateral alliance between Colombia and the United States.

“With a new day dawning in U.S.-Colombia relations today, we are relaunching our website to make information about our country, our progress and our partnership with the United States more accessible, with an eye toward the future,” said Colombian Ambassador to the U.S. Gabriel Silva. “The website, rich with vibrant images and information, serves as a resource for learning more about Colombia and our government’s vision for moving further into an era of sustained prosperity.”

The website includes the following features:

  • About Colombia: Features information about Colombia’s history, culture, traditions, geography, biodiversity and natural resources, as well as its modern urban cities, natural parks and tourism destinations. The section also includes information about Colombia’s thriving economy, its leadership in global affairs and President Santos’ progressive policy agenda.

  • The Colombia-U.S. Alliance: Details the history of the U.S.-Colombia partnership, including the successes of Plan Colombia and other bilateral security initiatives, the U.S.-Colombia FTA and the U.S.-Colombia High Level Partnership Dialogue.

  • Bilateral Trade: Highlights the U.S.-Colombia economic partnership, made even stronger with today’s implementation of the U.S.-Colombia FTA. The section includes downloadable PDFs with information about the economic benefits of the FTA to key U.S. economic sectors – agriculture, equipment and machinery, services and investment – as well as links to information about how each state will benefit from the agreement.

  • Media Center: Features the latest news, editorials and op-eds about Colombia, as well as press releases from the Embassy and the Government of Colombia. The section also includes multimedia content – the Embassy’s photo gallery and links to videos of recent official bilateral events.

  • Consular Information: Contains a directory and contact information for each of the Colombian Government’s consulates throughout the United States, as well as detailed information about consular services for U.S. and Colombian citizens, and frequently asked questions for those seeking additional information.

Visit www.colombiaemb.org to learn more.
 

May 13, 2012

Este 15 de mayo entra en vigencia el TLC entre Colombia y Estados Unidos
 
“Empezamos una nueva era en la alianza diplomática y comercial de ambos países”, aseguró el Embajador de Colombia ante el Gobierno de EE.UU., Gabriel Silva.
 
Washington, DC, 14 de mayo de 2012. La entrada en vigencia del Tratado de Libre de Comercio (TLC) entre Colombia y Estados Unidos este 15 de mayo, es el inicio de una “nueva era” en las relaciones entre ambos países.
 
Así lo aseguró el Embajador de Colombia ante el Gobierno de los EE.UU., Gabriel Silva, tras indicar que la puesta en marcha del tratado pone a Colombia y a Estados Unidos en una “relación de igualdad bajo un marco jurídico estable”.
 
“Hoy es uno de los días más importantes en la historia de las relaciones entre Estados Unidos y Colombia. Empezamos una nueva era en la alianza diplomática y comercial de ambos países. Con el TLC, Colombia entra en las grandes ligas”, dijo el Embajador Silva. 
 
Y agregó: “Estar en el club de los países que tienen TLC con Estados Unidos es muy importante por las señales que manda a la comunidad internacional”.
 
Reafirmó que Colombia es hoy en día un país más abierto al mundo, con un sector productivo que ha madurado y que tiene mejores condiciones para atraer inversión y conquistar mercados extranjeros.
 
“La entrada en vigencia del TLC, anunciada hace un mes por los presidentes Obama y Santos en Cartagena, es el comienzo no sólo del aumento en el comercio y la creación de nuevos empleos en ambos países, sino también el comienzo de un nuevo nivel de compromiso entre nuestras economías”, señaló el Embajador.
 
Y agregó: “Desde ampliar las oportunidades para el comercio hasta abrir el acceso a las industrias de servicios y garantizar la protección a la propiedad intelectual, los derechos laborales y el medio ambiente, el TLC no es sólo un acuerdo de libre comercio, es también una nueva plataforma para la asociación económica. A medida que nuestros países inician la aplicación de este acuerdo, damos la bienvenida a una nueva oportunidad para reafirmar ante el mundo que somos dos socios iguales, unidos por los ideales de progreso, prosperidad y oportunidad”, puntualizó.
 
Así mismo, señaló el Embajador Silva que tanto para los colombianos como para los estadounidenses, el TLC representa más certidumbre y una realidad jurídica plenamente establecida.
 
“Ambas economías son complementarias. Los ciudadanos colombianos se beneficiarán porque aumentarán nuestras exportaciones; habrá más inversión para la infraestructura, para la industria, para el desarrollo rural, en fin, más oportunidades”, concluyó.
 
Beneficios generales
 
El TLC abre para Colombia el mercado más grande del mundo en bienes y servicios, con más de 300 millones de habitantes.
 
El tratado crea un marco estable de largo plazo, promoviendo la inversión nacional y extranjera en Colombia. Así mismo, es un instrumento  permanente que, a diferencia del Atpdea (por sus siglas en inglés), no requiere renovaciones periódicas y, por ende, brinda estabilidad  y predictibilidad en las reglas del juego del comercio de bienes y servicios entre los dos países.
 
Esto significa que las empresas colombianas podrán desarrollar planes de negocios a largo plazo y realizar las inversiones necesarias para aprovechar las oportunidades en el mercado de los EE.UU.
 
Múltiples estudios muestran el impacto positivo del acuerdo en el crecimiento económico, el aumento de las exportaciones y la generación de empleos de calidad. Según el Gobierno de Colombia, el PIB crecerá entre 0,5 y 1 punto porcentual adicional cada año. Así mismo, la tasa de desempleo se reducirá en un punto porcentual y se crearán 500 mil puestos de trabajo adicionales dentro de los próximos 5 años.
 
Los sectores con mayor potencial de crecimiento incluyen prendas de vestir, textiles, productos de cuero, productos metálicos, aceites vegetales, frutas, verduras y servicios. También existen oportunidades significativas para los productos de belleza y agroindustriales.
 
Con el TLC, las familias colombianas podrán disfrutar de una variedad más amplia de opciones de productos a precios más competitivos, aumentando su poder adquisitivo.
 
Estados Unidos es el principal destino de las exportaciones colombianas, con un 38 por ciento de participación en el 2011. El TLC garantiza la desgravación total y permanente de todas las mercancías colombianas que se exporten a ese país.
 
El sector agropecuario se beneficiará por el mayor acceso al mercado estadounidense, no sólo por la eliminación permanente de aranceles sino también por el establecimiento de reglas de juego claras en materia sanitarias y fitosanitarias para apoyar el acceso real para nuestra producción agropecuaria y agroindustrial. Igualmente, EE.UU. se comprometió a dar una atención oportuna a las solicitudes colombianas, a tomar en cuenta las evaluaciones técnicas hechas en nuestro país y a proveer cooperación técnica para poner nuestros sistemas al nivel requerido para tener acceso real a su mercado.
 
El esquema de desgravación arancelaria acordado para el ámbito industrial maximiza las oportunidades competitivas del aparato productivo colombiano. Abre el acceso libre de aranceles para el 99.9 por ciento de los productos de exportación colombiana de manera inmediata. Colombia otorga desgravación inmediata para el 82 por ciento de la oferta industrial exportable de EE.UU., la mayor parte bienes de capital o bienes no producidos en el país.
 
El TLC garantiza un mayor acceso del aparato productivo colombiano a la adquisición de bienes de capital, fundamentalmente maquinaria y equipo importado de los Estados Unidos, por la eliminación inmediata de la gran mayoría de los aranceles (entre 5 y 20 por ciento). El efecto será un incremento de competitividad para todo el aparato productivo nacional, tanto industrial como agropecuario, y un beneficio especial para las pequeñas y medianas empresas.
 
Cronología TLC
 
El Tratado de Libre Comercio entre Colombia y los Estados Unidos se empezó a negociar en mayo 18 del 2004. Tras más de dos años de discusiones, ambos  gobiernos firmaron el tratado el 22 de noviembre de 2006.
 
El Congreso colombiano aprobó el tratado el 14 de junio del 2007. Tras la negociación de un protocolo modificatorio firmado el 28 de junio del 2007 y aprobado por el Congreso el 30 de octubre de 2007, Colombia completó sus trámites internos para ratificar el TLC, cuando la Corte Constitucional lo declaró exequible el 24 de julio de 2008.
 
El Senado y la Cámara de Representantes de los Estados Unidos aprobaron el tratado el 12 de octubre de 2011. Posteriormente, el 21 de octubre, el Presidente de EE.UU., Barack Obama, firmó la Ley.
 
Luego de siete meses de implementación normativa, Colombia y Estados Unidos intercambiaron notas diplomáticas el 15 de abril de 2012, en Cartagena. Finalmente, el TLC entró en vigencia el 15 de mayo de 2012.
 
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May 14, 2012

Embajada de Colombia

“Empezamos una nueva era en la alianza diplomática y comercial de ambos países”, aseguró el Embajador de Colombia ante el Gobierno de EE.UU., Gabriel Silva.

May 14, 2012

Dow Jones

Chile's largest shopping mall owner, Parque Arauco SA, is focusing its growth strategy on Colombia, where the company plans to invest up to $1 billion over the next five years. Parque Arauco, which owns and operates malls in Chile, Peru and Colombia, has an aggressive growth strategy in theregion, and Colombia represents more than half of its 2012-2016 investment plan.

May 13, 2012

Hispanically Speaking News

It’s Mothers Day and in certain parts of the U.S. it’s still too chilly to cut your own roses for your mom.  So where do the endless Mothers Day rose bouquets come from? Thanks to the Latin American country of Colombia where growing conditions are ideal, Americans are able to celebrate with roses in abundance.

May 13, 2012

Miami Herald

By Leon Panetta, Secretary of Defense

During the past decade, a remarkable transformation has taken place in the Western Hemisphere. Across the region, countries are doing more than they ever have before to advance peace and security within and beyond their borders. … I recently had the opportunity to visit three countries that demonstrate this progress during my first trip to South America as the United States Secretary of Defense.

May 15, 2012

Embassy of Colombia Press Release

Washington, DC — On the occasion of the implementation of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the Embassy of Colombia todaylaunched a newly updated version of its official website – www.colombiaemb.org. The site has been updated with a new design and content, all aimed at highlighting key information about Colombia, its history and culture, and the longstanding bilateral alliance between Colombia and the United States.

May 14, 2012

Miami Herald

At 1 a.m. Tuesday, a cargo plane loaded with more than 1.2 million Colombian flowers was due at Miami International Airport — the first shipment under the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, which took effect at midnight. Several hours later, U.S. officials were planning to unveil one of the first U.S. products to arrive in Colombia under the pact: a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

May 15, 2012

BBC News

The long-delayed free trade agreement between the US and Colombia has come into effect, more than five years after being signed. At the stroke of midnight, a planeload of flowers - an important export for Colombia - left Bogota to become the first shipment under the deal.

May 15, 2012

Office of the United States Trade Representative

This afternoon, United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk celebrated the entry into force of the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement. “Today, the historic U.S.-Colombia trade agreement is in effect. It brings benefits to businesses of every size in both of our countries,” said Ambassador Kirk.

May 15, 2012

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

The long-touted U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement takes effect Tuesday and South Florida companies are already gearing up to boost business with a country that is currently the state's No. 2 trade partner. Exporters are especially bullish because the pact eliminates duties on most U.S. goods sold to Colombia.

May 15, 2012

Office of the United States Trade Representative

"Today, the historic U.S.-Colombia trade agreement is in effect. It brings benefits to businesses of every size in both of our countries. This is good news for U.S. entrepreneurs, workers, farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and service providers who are ready to export more U.S. goods and services to Colombia’s growing market. Similarly, it’s good news for Colombia, which stands to gain in terms of economic growth, jobs, and permanent access to the world’s largest market here in the United States."

May 15, 2012

U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means

Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) issued the following statements in reaction to the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement entering into force today.

May 14, 2012

U.S. Senate Finance Committee

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus today hailed the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement’s (FTA) entry into force, which will take place tomorrow and eliminate and phase-out Colombian tariffs on American manufactured and agricultural goods.  Baucus led the fight urging the Administration to send the job-creating agreement to Congress and last year led the Senate to pass the implementing legislation for the trade agreement with Colombia.

May 14, 2012

Latin Business Chronicle

The Colombian economy grew 5.9 percent y/y in 2011, an impressive growth rate considering that most of the planet was retrenching. … Foreign investors are moving into new mining, energy, infrastructure and agricultural projects. The hotels of Bogota are brimming with Asian business men and western investment bankers cutting deals.

May 16, 2012

Fruitnet.com

The long-awaited US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement or Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA) entered into force yesterday (15 May), over five years after the treaty was originally signed, according to a news statementfrom the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Under the pact, Colombian producers of a range of items, including agricultural commodities, will be able to export their products tariff-free to the US.

May 15, 2012

Wall Street Journal

A free-trade agreement between the U.S. and Colombia took effect Tuesday after years of negotiations and despite strong opposition from U.S. labor organizations, which are worried about jobs being sent abroad and union-busting violence in Colombia. The first products shipped tariff-free were crates of Colombian roses and other flowers that landed Tuesday morning at Miami's airport.

May 15, 2012

Dairy Herd Network

A long-delayed free-trade deal between Colombia and the United States came into force on Tuesday, a step that should boost the Andean nation's exports and foreign investment, President Juan Manuel Santos said. …Santos said the treaty should give further impetus to Colombia's economic growth and create new jobs - a key aim of his government.

May 15, 2012

Miami Herald

Miguel Rodriguez, who runs the Americas office of Mustad — a Norwegian fishing hook manufacturer — has been watching the progress of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement closely even though it doesn’t affect his company directly. While much of the attention on the newly minted trade pact has been focused on exports and imports, what piques Mustad’s interest are new investment opportunities in Colombia.

May 15, 2012

Global Atlanta

The Colombia-U.S. free trade agreement should improve not only trade relations between the two countries, but the perception among Colombians of Americans doing business there, an Atlanta businessman with 10 years of experience in the country, said at a celebratory breakfast meeting Tuesday, May 15, at the World Trade Center Atlanta. Ninety-five attendees came to the event to learn more about the long-awaited agreement that went into effect on the 15th after more than six years of delays.

May 15, 2012

Colombia Reports

Colombia's ambassador to the United States painted a rosy picture of economic growth in Colombia as the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two nations takes effect Tuesday. The agreement will be a "catalyst" for infrastructure investment and position Colombia as a "platform for exports" in the region, Gabriel Silva said, according to media reports.

May 15, 2012

PRI’s The World

Our Geo Quiz is inspired by a huge shipment of fresh Colombian flowers that arrived at Miami International Airport. More than four thousand boxes of roses and carnations. They are the very first products to enter the USA under a free trade agreement with Colombia that’s just gone into effect.

May 15, 2012

Reuters

Trade between the United States and Colombia could double in three years under a free trade pact that went into force on Tuesday, a top Colombian official said. "It's going to be huge and I am ready to bet we are going to double bilateral trade in three years," Gabriel Silva, Colombia's ambassador to the United States, said in remarks to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

May 15, 2012

Hoosier Ag Today

The U.S. and Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement is now in force. According to Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, – as of Tuesday, U.S. agricultural exporters receive duty-free access on more than half of the products we currently export to Colombia, and virtually all remaining tariffs will be eliminated within 15 years. Estimates show that the tariff reductions in the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement will expand total U.S. exports by more than 1.1-billion dollars, while increasing U.S. GDP by 2.5-billion.

May 15, 2012

Investor’s Business Daily

Trade: Six years after it was signed, the U.S.-Colombia free-trade agreement took effect Tuesday, giving our economy a shot in the arm. Tell us again why this pact was a bad thing? … With the U.S.-Colombia free trade pact going into force Tuesday, the U.S. stands to gain $1.1 billion in new sales to Colombia, meaning plenty of demand for Long Beach. In anticipation, U.S. trade with Colombia increased 19% last year alone.

May 17, 2012

MercoPress

Ecopetrol's market capitalization, or the value of its outstanding shares, has jumped 37 billion to 127 billion dollars this year through the close of trading Tuesday, according to a study released Wednesday by Sao Paulo-based consulting group Economatica. Petrobras, which Economatica said had held the top spot for atleast a decade, has lost 32 billion for a market value of 124 billion dollars.

May 16, 2012

Southeast Farm Press

On Tuesday, the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the United States and Colombia was officially implemented. "Beginning today, U.S. agricultural exporters receive duty-free access on more than half of the products we currently export to Colombia, and virtually all remaining tariffs will be eliminated within 15 years,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Estimates show that the tariff reductions in the U.S./Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement will expand total U.S. exports by more than $1.1 billion, supporting thousands of additional American jobs while increasing U.S. GDP by $2.5 billion.

May 16, 2012

Dow Jones

Colombia's trade surplus continued to grow in March as exports expanded at a faster pace than imports. Data released Wednesday from the government's statistics agency DANE showed Colombia had a $1.02 billion trade surplus in March. This compares with a $537 million surplus in January. The sharp increase in the surplus is largely due to rising crude oil prices in March that helped exports jump 16% from a year earlier.

May 13, 2012

El Colombiano

El Embajador [Gabriel Silva] celebra que desde la próxima semana el país pertenecerá al "club" de países que han puesto en marcha un acuerdo comercial con la economía más grande del mundo, lo que le confiere una señal importante de "reconocimiento" ante la comunidad internacional.

May 15, 2012

Remarks by the Ambassador to the U.S. Gabriel Silva, at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Entry into Force of the Colombia-United States FTA

Washington, DC, May 15, 2012. “Of course on a day like this, gratitude is the most important sentiment, and we have a lot of gratitude for all of you. Taking the risk of leaving institutions and people behind, I want to express the gratitude of the Colombian people and the Colombian government to all of you, but also especially to the U.S. Government, to President Obama, to Ambassador Ron Kirk, Ambassador Sapiro, Bennett [Harman], all your team at USTR, thank you very much for being trustable, efficient, courageous, firm partners in this process. I think they deserve a round of applause please.

Someone described this morning to me that having the FTA approved and implemented was like winning at a slot machine. You need to really have the three components in the same figure, the same place, and we were very lucky to have, not only the U.S. government in the right position, but most important the U.S. Congress.

I want to thank the US Congress, both the Senate and the House for what they did, in particular Speaker Boehner, Chairman Camp, our friend Chairman Brady, Senator Baucus, Senator Kerry and so many others that allowed us to have this treaty introduced and voted with sufficient majority to highlight that this is really a bipartisan achievement.

Also, the third piece of the puzzle or the third piece of the slot is the private sector. The U.S. private sector and the Colombian private sector really invested all their energies in making this happen. I want to thank the Chamber of Commerce, the Latin American Trade Coalition, the U.S.-Colombia Business Partnership and so many others. All the think tanks in Washington were active members of this effort to discuss and push forward what we are celebrating today.

I believe that the FTA represents the dawn of a new era and as someone that has been in this business for quite a while, because I was Ambassador the first time almost 20 years ago, it means a lot. Twenty years ago, and I won’t mention who was the guy who had this clever idea, but a congressman proposed that the way to end drug trafficking was to bomb Medellín. Of course, wisely the U.S. followed a different path, a path of cooperation, a path of friendship, a path of working together. 

And to see after 20 years of efforts, sacrifice, to see that we together, the U.S. and Colombia achieved this new level, this new status, this permanent relationship on the economic and trade front, for me personally it shows tremendous achievement and moves my heart deeply. When you have been working to enhance the bilateral relationship for years, this is like the Oscar; the FTA is the Oscar of diplomacy in the bilateral relations. I’m not a good actor, but in the end this is really for me a tremendous moment personally and for my country.

What does the FTA mean for Colombia and the U.S.? Of course it means a lot of business, much more than we expect, much more than we can imagine. If you see what has happened with other countries when they sign and implement an FTA, they never expected such a boom in exports, imports, trade and business opportunities. This is going to be huge and I’m ready to bet that we are going to double bilateral trade in three years. I could of course walk you through many of the opportunities that arise with the implementation of the FTA. You know them well and I won’t bore you with lists of products and lists of possible business. I only want to mention some less tangible benefits from the FTA; the most important, certainty. When we had the trade preferences they were subject to this political football in Congress and in bilateral relations, and so people didn’t know that they would be there next year or that they would expire in two years or so. Certainty in trade is critical. Now the FTA provides that certainty. 

The other non-material benefit but fundamental achievement with the FTA is stability, stability of the rules of the game. Now we know that we can work together and we have ways to solve disputes and to manage differences, and there are rules to do that. In a way an FTA is like a marriage, you have to be always negotiating. And the next benefit that I want to highlight from the FTA is predictability; you can predict the outcome, you can work in certainty, stability and predictability; you can plan and you can invest knowing the path we’re going to follow.

And finally of course the last word to characterize the FTA is opportunity, opportunity for Americans, for American workers, American businesses, for Colombians. And let me use just one example, one that most mothers love is flowers, Colombian flowers. The flower industry in Colombia generates around 200,000 jobs, very important for my country. But at the same time, the chain of value of flowers in America generates 250,000 jobs; there is a flower shop on every corner and there are thousands of jobs that depend on this import, and what better way to celebrate the World Trade Week than the entry into force of the FTA. But I want to finish just mentioning what for me is the really most relevant and fundamental achievement with the FTA: it solidifies our friendship and our strategic partnership. Thank you very much.”

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May 18, 2012

Colombia Reports

The European Parliament is set to approve the E.U.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) before the end of the year, reported local media Friday.

May 17, 2012

ElTiempo.com

By Eric Farnsworth and Kezia McKeague

The May 15 entry into force of the U.S.-Colombia free-trade agreement (FTA) marked a significant accomplishment for both countries, but it is the beginning, not the end, of the effort to bring the benefits of open trade to Colombia and to position the country to compete effectively in the global economy.

May 17, 2012

The Brookings Institution

By Diana Villiers Negroponte

For the last four years, both the Colombians and supporters in the United States have waited for the U.S. congress to ratify the Free Trade Agreement. The Congress approved the FTA on October 23, 2011 and this week, the agreement comes into force. Free trade in goods, services and investment will be introduced gradually over fifteen years.

May 19, 2012

The Economist

Shortly before midnight on May 14th a planeload of freshly cut roses, carnations and lilies took off from Bogotá and headed for Miami. By the time it landed a free-trade agreement had come into effect, allowing the flowers, and thousands of other Colombian products, tariff-free entry into the American market.

May 18, 2012
May 19, 2012

Apio, rúgula y espinaca se podrán exportar a EE.UU. sin restricciones sanitarias
Desde ya, estos productos pueden exportarse con cero arancel al país estadounidense, aseguró el Ministro de Comercio, Industria y Turismo, Sergio Díaz-Granados.
 
Washington, DC, 19 de mayo de 2012. El Ministro de Comercio, Industria y Turismo, Sergio Díaz-Granados, confirmó que a partir de este momento, Colombia puede exportar apio, rúgula y espinaca a los Estados Unidos sin restricciones sanitarias.
 
Así lo aseguró el Ministro tras indicar que la noticia se produce justo cuando entra en vigencia el Tratado de Libre Comercio (TLC), el cual abre oportunidades inmediatas para casi todo el universo arancelario, incluidos los productos hortofrutícolas.
 
Actualmente, la espinaca y la rúgula ingresan a ese mercado con un arancel del 20 por ciento, mientras que el apio tiene un gravamen de 14,9 por ciento, dijo el Ministro. Sin embargo, así no tuvieran que responder por gravámenes, estos alimentos no podían exportarse por restricciones sanitarias.
 
“Hasta este momento, México es el principal proveedor de Estados Unidos en estos tres rubros, pero el TLC nos pone en igualdad de condiciones”, aseguró el Ministro Díaz-Granados.
 

Sin duda, enfatizó que es una gran oportunidad que se abre para los productores de estos rubros. En ese sentido explicó que, por ejemplo, el año pasado Estados Unidos importó 18 millones de dólares en apio, 12 millones de dólares en espinaca y 195 millones de dólares en rúgula.

Las posibilidades de encontrar nuevos segmentos de mercado para estos tres productos son evidentes, pues bloques como el CAFTA han permitido a Centroamérica dinamizar sus ventas a Estados Unidos. El año pasado este bloque aumentó sus exportaciones de apio, espinaca y rúgula en más de 200 por ciento.
 
El Ministro destacó la gestión que adelantó el Instituto Colombiano Agropecuario (ICA) ante la entidad correspondiente en EE.UU. (Servicio de Inspección de Sanidad Animal y Vegetal (Aphis). La decisión fue notificada el 18 de mayo en el Código Federal de los Estados Unidos.
 
Además de los beneficios arancelarios que ofrece el TLC a estos tres productos, el Ministro destacó el trabajo que se adelanta en el Programa de Transformación Productiva para que el sector hortofrutícola se convierta en un jugador de talla mundial.
 
Destacó la evolución de las ventas externas de éste último sector que en 2010 fue de 117 millones de dólares. El año pasado cerró en 131 millones de dólares y 33 millones  dólares entre enero y marzo de 2011.
 
(Fuente: Ministerio de Comercio, Industria y Turismo)

May 21, 2012

Reuters

AngloGold Ashanti, the world's No. 3 gold producer, plans to invest $400-million in Colombia in the 2013-2015 period at its La Colosa deposit and other gold exploration projects, a company executive said on Friday.

May 19, 2012

Reuters

Colombia said on Friday it would send 50 percent more natural gas this year to neighboring Venezuela, which has yet to start producing the fuel commercially despite huge reserves.

May 18, 2012

Export-Import Bank of the United States

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) and Bancoldex have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to work together to facilitate trade between the United States and Colombia. Ex-Im Bank and Bancoldex have agreed to exchange information on trade and business prospects that may present opportunities for cooperation, including expanding use of Ex-Im Bank financing by Colombian buyers for their purchases of U.S. goods and services.

May 18, 2012

New York Times

For some time now, if you asked architects and urban planners for proof of the power of public architecture and public space to remake the fortunes of a city, they’d point here. … Colombia’s second city has lately become a medical and business center with a population of 3.5 million and a budding tourist industry, its civic pride buoyed by the new public buildings and squares, and exemplified by an efficient and improbably immaculate metro and cable car system. Linking rich with poor neighborhoods, spurring private development, the metro … is for residents of Medellín a shared symbol of democratic renewal.

May 19, 2012

Embajada de Colombia

El Ministro de Comercio, Industria y Turismo, Sergio Díaz-Granados, confirmó que a partir de este momento, Colombia puede exportar apio, rúgula y espinaca a los Estados Unidos sin restricciones sanitarias.

May 22, 2012

The Voice of Agriculture – Newsline

Better late than never. But American Farm Bureau Trade Specialist Dave Salmonsen says the long wait for the free trade agreement with Colombia to take effect was costly to U.S. agriculture.

May 22, 2012

Bloomberg

Colombia, the world’s second-largest coffee supplier after Brazil, said output is forecast to rise to its highest in five years in 2013 because of drier weather. Output may rise to 9 million bags from about 7.8 million bags expected this year, Luis Munoz, chief executive officer of Colombia’s National Federation of Coffee Growers, said in Bogota after a news conference today. That would be the most since 11.5 million bags in 2008, according to the coffee federation’s data.

May 22, 2012

EFE

President Juan Manuel Santos signed into law on Tuesday a measure aimed at achieving a "more equitable" distribution of Colombia's royalties from oil, gas and mining activity. Almost all of the Andean nation's more than 1,000 municipalities will receive a share of the royalties this year, more than double the number in 2011, Santos said during the signing ceremony.

May 22, 2012

Bloomberg

Colombia, South America’s third- largest oil supplier, will reach 1 million barrels of crude production before year-end, pending environmental permits for fields.

May 22, 2012

Colombia Energy Resources, Inc.

Colombia Energy Resources, Inc. (OTCBB: CERX), a metallurgical coal exploration and production company operating in the Republic of Colombia, anticipates transportation cost savings from the planned multi-billion dollar infrastructure renovation by the Colombian government and private industry. As a direct benefit of the infrastructure investments being made, CERX expects to use both the railroad and river barge system to bring its metallurgical hard coking coals to international markets.

May 24, 2012

Por primera vez, Colombia abre los mercados de valores más importantes del mundo: Nueva York y Londres
Este viernes el Presidente Juan Manuel Santos abrirá la jornada del New York Stock Exchange (NYSE-EURONEXT), y en Londres, el Presidente de la Bolsa de Valores de Colombia, Juan Pablo Córdoba, abrirá el London Stock Exchange. En su viaje a Estados Unidos el Mandatario también se reunirá con altos directivos de bancos fondos de inversión y empresas norteamericanas.
 
Bogotá, 24 may (SIG). Colombia será protagonista este viernes de la apertura de los mercados en las bolsas de valores de Nueva York y de Londres, que son consideradas las plazas accionarias más importantes del mundo.
 
El Presidente Juan Manuel Santos será el encargado de abrir la jornada del New York Stock Exchange (NYSE-EURONEXT), donde se cotizan las acciones de algunas compañías nacionales, mientras que en Londres, el Presidente de la Bolsa de Valores de Colombia, Juan Pablo Córdoba, con 16 representantes de grandes empresas del país, abrirá el London Stock Exchange.
 
Esta apertura simultánea de los dos mercados bursátiles es una señal importante para Colombia, pues demuestra la creciente importancia que está registrando en los mercados financieros internacionales.
 
La visita del Presidente Santos a Nueva York se produce 10 días después de la entrada en vigencia del TLC entre Colombia y Estados Unidos. Allí, el Jefe de Estado se reunirá con altos directivos de bancos, fondos de inversión y empresas con interés en el país, para promocionar los beneficios del acuerdo comercial.
 
El viernes el Presidente tendrá un desayuno de trabajo con altos ejecutivos de los principales bancos y fondos de inversión, como BlackRock, el mayor administrador de activos del mundo con un portafolio superior a 3.68 billones de dólares; Blackstone con activos valorados en 19 mil millones de dólares y Pimco, fondo que administra activos superiores a 1.7 billones de dólares.
 
Wilbur Ross, reconocido por la revista Forbes como uno de los billonarios del mundo en 2011, confirmó su asistencia a esta reunión.
 
Así mismo, el Presidente hablará con altos ejecutivos de Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan y Nomura, entre otros.
 
Después de tocar la campana de apertura, el Jefe de Estado hará un recorrido por el piso de negociación de la bolsa y visitará a los encargados de transar las acciones de empresas colombianas listadas en NYSE-EURONEXT.
 
El Presidente Santos es el invitado de honor de un almuerzo ofrecido por el Consejo de las Américas y la Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia, donde presentará los avances del país y las oportunidades económicas a altos ejecutivos de empresas a nivel mundial, como Fox Latin America, Japan Bank, International Cooperation, MetLife Seguros de Vida, PepsiCo y Telefónica Internacional, entre otras.
 
La agenda del Presidente Juan Manuel Santos incluye encuentros con medios de comunicación y se reunirá con los consejos editoriales de The New York Times y The Wall Street Journal.

May 24, 2012

Presidencia de la Republica

Este viernes el Presidente Juan Manuel Santos abrirá la jornada del New York Stock Exchange (NYSE-EURONEXT), y en Londres, el Presidente de la Bolsa de Valores de Colombia, Juan Pablo Córdoba, abrirá el London Stock Exchange. En su viaje a Estados Unidos el Mandatario también se reunirá con altos directivos de bancos fondos de inversión y empresas norteamericanas.

May 25, 2012

The Bell

On Friday, May 25, His Excellency Juan Manuel Santos, President of the Republic of Colombia, visits the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).  During his visit, the President meet with NYSE Euronext executives, participates in an executive roundtable breakfast, rings The Opening Bell and tours the NYSE trading floor.

May 25, 2012

Seeking Alpha

Colombia is a country of immeasurable beauty, with soaring mountain peaks, glistening sandy beaches, luxuriant tropical jungles, boundless biodiversity and most importantly for investors a liberal business environment and booming economy. The country, its government and people have eagerly sought to shed Colombia's violent past becoming the latest Latin American country ardently seeking integration into the global economy.

May 29, 2012

Huffington Post

The final stop of my journey through the incredible country of Colombia was Medellín. After three weeks spent exploring national parks, worshipping in cathedrals made of salt and trekking the stomping ground of Juan Valdez, I was eager at the prospect of being back in a city. … Long a favored place of residence for Colombia's wealthy – and, these days, for foreign expatriates from all over the globe – Medellín is en route to becoming one of the quintessential cities of the 21st century.

May 28, 2012

Reuters

Colombia, one of the world's top coffee exporters, could more than double production by the end of the decade if its drive to tap new markets such as Russia and China prove successful, said the head of the coffee federation. The world's top producer of high quality arabica beans aims to churn out a record 18 million bags for export by 2020 as it increases crop area and recovers output levels curbed by bad weather, fungus and a tree renovation program, federation chief Luis Genaro Munoz told Reuters.

May 28, 2012

Huffington Post

When Fernando Botero had his first solo exhibition, in 1951 at the small Leo Matiz Gallery, in Bogotá, his work was so heterogeneous that visitors initially assumed they were looking at a group show. The young Colombian artist's watercolors, drawings, and oils depicting local bars and brothels and prominent Colombian figures borrowed as much from painters like Paul Gauguin as they did from Mexican muralists like Diego Rivera and Rufino Tamayo. There was no indication that this unknown 19-year-old, who turned 80 last month, would become Latin America's wealthiest and most recognizable artist.

May 27, 2012

Colombia Reports

Foreign direct investment in Colombia has gone up almost 25% in the first four months of 2012 compared with the same period last year, the country's trade minister said Sunday. According to a statement on the ministry's website, "as of May 4 the FDI reached $6.0559 billion and that this was an increase of 24.5% over the same period in 2011. Given this, the government expects that FDI will reach 15 billion by the close of this year."

May 25, 2012

Dow Jones

Low-cost airline VivaColombia took its first flight Friday, from Medellin to Bogota, entering Colombia's growing commercial airline sector with deals as low as $29 each way. The airline is the second local airline to dub itself "low-cost." Easyfly, an airline which began in 2007 and saw a 46% jump in passengers last year compared with 2010, was first. … "Better tourism," said Sergio Diaz-Granados, Colombia's minister of commerce, industry and tourism, in a Twitter message Friday. "Today the airline VivaColombia begins to operate."

May 30, 2012
May 30, 2012

On May 30th, the NPR radio program From the Top with host Christopher O’Riley will be recorded in Colombia
The show, which will be themed “From the Top in Colombia with Host Christopher O’Riley,” will be recorded on May 30 at the Teatro Mayor Julio Mario Santodomingo in Bogotá.  The recording will feature 149 young musicians from the Colombian Youth Philharmonic, the Batuta Allegro Ensemble and extraordinary Colombian soloists who will perform and speak with “From the Top” host and pianist Christopher O'Riley.  The show will air on nearly 250 NPR stations across the United States in September 2012.
 
Washington DC, May 29 2012.  On May 30th, From the Top, one of the most popular and prestigious classical music radio series in the United States, will record a program in Bogotá. Colombia was selected as the location for the show’s first-ever recording outside of the United States because of the work that Fundacion Batuta has done to promote music education as a pathway to social development in the country. “From the Top in Colombia with Host Christopher O’Riley” will present the country’s diverse musical talent. From the Top, which is also a non-profit entity with an educational mission, is uniquely positioned to showcase Batuta’s efforts and help them in developing the next generation of global arts leaders and engaged citizens.
 
The format of the show includes a concert and interviews with the young musicians, during which they will share their stories and passion for music. It will feature 149 young musicians from the Colombian Youth Philharmonic, the Batuta Allegro Ensemble and extraordinary Colombian soloists.
 
Background Information:
 
What is “From the Top”?
 
What began as a radio experiment in 2000 quickly became one of the fastest growing and most popular weekly classical music programs on public radio. Broadcast on nearly 250 stations nationwide to an audience of more than 700,000 listeners each week, From the Top with host Christopher O’Riley has been described by the Boston Globe as, "an entertaining, accessible and inspirational mix of outstanding musical performances, informal interviews, skits and games, the show is a celebration of extraordinary musicians who happen to be teenagers leading fairly normal lives." From the Top’s variety show format features serious musical performances and lively interviews with some of the country’s best pre-collegiate performers.
 
Annually, From the Top's live tapings reach more than 20,000 live audience members of all ages across the United States. In conjunction with its national tour, through From the Top’s Center for the Development of Arts Leaders, the Boston-based non-profit offers leadership training to young artists and conducts classroom and community programs leveraging the power of its performers as role models for younger students. In addition, From the Top and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation award $10,000 scholarships to high achieving musicians with limited financial means. The program has invested more than $1.5 million in support for pre-college students since 2005. From the Top launched its Emmy Award winning PBS television series From the Top at Carnegie Hall in 2007.
 
How did “From The Top in Colombia” come about?
 
“From the Top in Colombia” is the result of efforts by two institutions: the National Batuta Foundation (Fundación Nacional Batuta) and the Bolivar Davivienda Foundation (Fundación Bolívar Davivienda).  Seeking new ways to position youth music in Colombia, these institutions have aligned with From the Top to integrate its mission of developing the next generation of arts leaders as well as introduce Colombia’s musical talent to American public radio audiences.
 
This innovative partnership brings together Colombian public and private support in order to promote the use of musical education as a pathway to social development.
 
“From the Top represents an invaluable platform for the promotion of our most talented young musicians who are members of the Colombian Youth Philharmonic and the best Batuta groups in the country,” said Juan Antonio Cuellar, Executive Director of Fundacion Nacional Batuta.  “The collaboration with ‘From the Top’ has the potential to create a long-term link in the United States between youth with outstanding musical talent and artistic qualities with the reality and development of Colombia, and to offer Colombian youth a window into the United States, so that they can recognize its contribution to world music and the opportunities it offers for growth.”
 
“For our part, at From the Top, we have always known that around the globe there are projects that are utilizing classical music to transform lives, and we’ve been seeking an opportunity to explore the world beyond our borders,” says From the Top co-founder and co-Executive Producer Gerald Slavet.
 
“We look forward to bringing the energy of Colombia’s young musicians to our audience on nearly 250 NPR stations across the country and to share with them our perspective on how musicians can contribute to making the world a better place,” says From the Top co-founder and co-Executive Producer Jennifer Hurley-Wales.

National Batuta Foundation

The National Batuta Youth Symphonic Foundation was created in 1991 to strengthen and increase the enjoyment, practice and teaching of music in the country and to guarantee a positive impact on the improvement of the quality of life of Colombians.  It is a non-profit organization with mixed participation, which fulfills public and social interests.
 
The project has sites in 284 orchestral centers in 102 municipalities and departmental capitals across the country, where more than 36,000 students take part in 1,000 pre-orchestral groups and 26 symphonic orchestras.

Colombian Youth Philharmonic

The Colombian Youth Philharmonic is the flagship orchestra of the Colombian symphonic youth movement, which was created in 2012 as a result of an alliance between the Bolivar Davivienda Foundation, the National Batuta Foundation and the Youth Orchestra of the Americas.
The Colombian Youth Philharmonic presents an opportunity for youth who want to create a life based on symphonic music by promoting international awareness of their talents.  Each year a call for auditions is made to musicians between the ages of 16 and 24 who would like to receive world-class training and become members of the orchestra.
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May 30, 2012

Este 30 de mayo se grabará programa de la serie radial ‘From the Top’ en Colombia
El evento, que se transmite por la Radio Pública Nacional (NPR) de los Estados Unidos a través de 250 emisoras a nivel nacional,  se llevará a cabo en el Teatro Mayor Julio Mario Santodomingo de Bogotá, y contará con la participación de 149 músicos de la Filarmónica Joven de Colombia, el Ensamble Allegro de Batuta y jóvenes solistas.
 
Washington DC, 29 de mayo de 2012. From the Top, una de las series radiales estadounidenses más populares y prestigiosas de música clásica, grabará este 30 de mayo un programa en Colombia, en el que participarán 149 músicos de todo el país, dándoles la oportunidad de demostrar su talento.
 
El evento que se titula, “From the Top en Colombia con Christopher O’Riley”, se grabará en el Teatro Mayor Julio Mario Santodomingo de Bogotá, a las 8:00 de la noche, con la participación de músicos menores de 24 años de la Filarmónica Joven de Colombia, el Ensamble Allegro de Batuta y extraordinarios solistas, quienes interactuarán con este reconocido presentador y pianista norteamericano.
 
El programa, que se grabará por primera vez en su historia por fuera de los Estados Unidos, escogió a Colombia por el talento musical y la calidad artística que existe en el país, así como por el trabajo que viene realizando la Fundación Batuta para aprovechar la  formación musical como un camino hacia el desarrollo social de la nación.
 
Este se transmitirá por la Radio Pública Nacional (NPR, por sus siglas en inglés), a través de 250 emisoras en los Estados Unidos, en septiembre de 2012.
 
"From the Top en Colombia con Christopher O'Riley" presentará al público internacional la diversidad del talento musical que existe en el país. Así mismo, además de ser una entidad sin ánimo de lucro con una misión educativa, From the Top será una plataforma única para mostrar los esfuerzos de Batuta y contribuir en la promoción y desarrollo de la próxima generación de líderes mundiales de las artes.
 
El formato del programa incluye un concierto y entrevistas a los jóvenes músicos, a través de las cuales podrán contar sus historias, pasiones y alegrías, revelando el alma y el corazón detrás de estos extraordinarios talentos.
 
Contexto
 
¿Qué es From the Top?
 
Lo que comenzó como un experimento radial en el año 2000, rápidamente se convirtió en uno de los programas con mayor crecimiento y popularidad en la radio pública de los Estados Unidos.
 
Así, y desde sus inicios, From the Top se consolidó como uno de los programas radiales de música clásica más innovadores, al traer a los radioescuchas las interpretaciones de niños y jóvenes artistas que comparten en el programa sus historias, pasiones y alegrías. Actualmente From the Top cuenta con una audiencia total de 700 mil oyentes por semana, conectados a través de las más de 250 emisoras que conforman la Radio Pública Nacional (National Public Radio) en Estados Unidos. 
 
Conducido por el afamado pianista Christopher O´Riley, From the Top presenta en cada uno de sus programas, de una hora de duración, cinco piezas de música clásica así como entrevistas y juegos que revelan el alma y el corazón detrás de estos jóvenes músicos. Hoy en día, con doce años de historia, el programa ha invitado  a reconocidos  intérpretes, entre ellos Yo-Yo Ma, Hilary Hahn, Béla Fleck, Sir James Galway, Jake Shimabukuro y Michael Feinstein.
 
Cada programa de From the Top es grabado en vivo a modo de concierto y con una audiencia real. Los conciertos son grabados en diferentes ciudades de Estados Unidos, desde Boston hasta Honolulu, siendo parte de un tour nacional  que se programa año tras año.

¿Cómo nació From The Top en Colombia?
 
“From the Top en Colombia con Christopher O´Riley” es el resultado de la gestión de dos instituciones: la Fundación Nacional Batuta y la Fundación Bolívar Davivienda. Estas instituciones, en su deseo de buscar nuevas formas de posicionar la música joven en Colombia, han realizado una alianza con From the Top para hacer llegar a la radio pública estadounidense la calidad musical que se está produciendo en el país.
 
Esta innovadora alianza integra el apoyo empresarial y público,  con el objetivo de trabajar por la formación musical como un camino hacia el desarrollo social del país. 
 
“From the Top significa una invaluable plataforma para la promoción y difusión del talento de nuestros más destacados músicos colombianos menores de 24 años, integrantes de la Filarmónica Joven de Colombia y de los mejores ensambles de Batuta de todo el país. La colaboración con From the Top tiene la aspiración a largo plazo de vincular a jóvenes destacados por su talento y calidad artística en los Estados Unidos con la realidad y el desarrollo de Colombia, y ofrecer a los jóvenes colombianos una ventana a los Estados Unidos, para su reconocimiento, su aporte a la música universal y la multiplicación de oportunidades para su crecimiento”, indicó Juan Antonio Cuellar, Presidente Ejecutivo de la Fundación Nacional Batuta.
 
"From the Top siempre ha sabido que existen proyectos, alrededor del mundo, que están utilizando la música clásica para transformar vidas, y hemos estado buscando una oportunidad para explorar el mundo más allá de nuestras fronteras", dijo  Gerald Slavet, co-fundador y co-productor ejecutivo.
 
"Esperamos poder transmitir la energía de los jóvenes músicos de Colombia a nuestra audiencia de cerca de 250 estaciones de NPR en todo el país y compartir con ellos nuestra perspectiva sobre cómo los músicos pueden contribuir a hacer del mundo un lugar mejor", dijo Jennifer Hurley-Wales, co-fundadora y co-productora ejecutiva.

Fundación Nacional Batuta

La Fundación Nacional de Orquestas Sinfónicas Juveniles e Infantiles Batuta fue creada en 1991 para fortalecer e incrementar el disfrute, la práctica y la enseñanza de la música en el país y garantizar su positiva incidencia en el mejoramiento de la calidad de vida de los colombianos. Es una  entidad de participación mixta para cumplir fines de interés público o social, sin ánimo de lucro.
 
El Proyecto está  presente en todo el país a través de 284 centros orquestales en 102 municipios y ciudades capitales de departamento en donde más de 36.000 estudiantes conforman 1.000 agrupaciones de pre-orquesta y 26 orquestas sinfónicas.
Filarmónica Joven de Colombia

Es la orquesta insignia del movimiento sinfónico juvenil colombiano que nació en 2012, gracias a la alianza entre la Fundación Bolívar Davivienda, la Fundación Nacional Batuta y la Youth Orchestra of the Americas (YOA).

La Filarmónica Joven de Colombia representa una oportunidad para los jóvenes que quieran generar un proyecto de vida a partir de la música sinfónica, convirtiéndose en un aliado con quien se trabaja de la mano para lograr su proyección internacional. Anualmente, se realiza una convocatoria para la orquesta, dirigida a músicos entre los 16 y 24 años que quieran pertenecer por merito a una orquesta y recibir formación con maestros de talla mundial.
 
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May 30, 2012

BBC

From Monday to Saturday, the streets of the Colombian capital of Bogota are packed with cars. The city - one of the largest in South America - is a teeming metropolis, home to more than seven million people. But on a Sunday vehicles are nowhere to be seen. Instead, the streets are taken over by pedestrians, thanks to the traffic-free streets initiative run by the city authorities. … Dr Julio Davila, a University College London expert in urban planning who used to work in Colombia, says what Bogota has done is agreat example of what can be achieved.

May 29, 2012

Embassy of Colombia

The show, which will be themed “From the Top in Colombia with Host Christopher O’Riley,” will be recorded on May 30 at the Teatro Mayor Julio Mario Santodomingo in Bogotá.  The recording will feature 149 young musicians from the Colombian Youth Philharmonic, the Batuta Allegro Ensemble and extraordinary Colombian soloists who will perform and speak with “From the Top” host and pianist Christopher O'Riley.  The show will air on nearly 250 NPR stations across the United States in September 2012.

May 29, 2012

Reuters

Bancolombia BIC.CN(CIB.N) is considering acquisitions in Latin America when the right opportunity arises, and it may use capital markets for financing if necessary, its chief executive said. Colombia's biggest lender is on the lookout for acquisitions of brokerages, fiduciary funds and banks from Mexico to Chile, Carlos Raul Yepes said in an interview for the Reuters Latin America Summit. No purchase is imminent, he said.

May 31, 2012

Campesinos han recibido títulos de tierras por casi 1 millón de hectáreas, afirmó el Presidente Santos
 
Bucaramanga, 30 de mayo de 2012. El Presidente Juan Manuel Santos resaltó este miércoles que en lo corrido de su Gobierno se han formalizado cerca de un millón de hectáreas de tierra a los campesinos del país.
 
"Esto, sumado a las 900 mil, casi un millón de hectáreas que durante este Gobierno hemos formalizado, está generando un cambio hacia la equidad social en nuestro campo", indicó al hacer referencia a las 14 mil solicitudes de restitución de tierras que se han recibido a la fecha, sobre más de un millón de hectáreas.
 
"Y ojo, para que no nos malinterpreten después: he dicho que estas tierras las hemos 'formalizado' -no 'restituido'–, es decir, las hemos entregado con título en mano a los campesinos", agregó el Jefe de Estado durante su intervención en la Asamblea Anual de Fedepalma, realizada este miércoles en Bucaramanga.
 
Añadió que las reclamaciones de tierras vienen de parte de colombianos que antes no se atrevían a reclamar, y consideró que eso "es un gran paso hacia la reconciliación de nuestra Patria".
 
"Los primeros fallos de esas reclamaciones deberán proferirse en los próximos meses por parte de los jueces agrarios, en cumplimiento de un deber histórico: devolverles a los despojados lo que les arrebató la violencia", manifestó el Presidente.
Dijo que esos esfuerzos jamás podrán considerarse como 'tiempo perdido' y que todo lo contrario: "¡Es un tiempo ganado para la justicia y para la reconciliación del país!".
 
A los agricultores honestos y los empresarios de bien, el Mandatario les garantizó que "pueden estar tranquillos, porque nada de esto ha sido ni será excusa para afectar a los dueños y poseedores de tierras que han actuado de buena fe".
 
Y agregó que "ha sido muy gratificante encontrar a unos empresarios comprometidos con el campo y con sus habitantes".

May 31, 2012

Presidencia de la República

El Presidente Juan Manuel Santos resaltó este miércoles que en lo corrido de su Gobierno se han formalizado cerca de un millón de hectáreas de tierra a los campesinos del país.

May 30, 2012

Colombia Reports

Colombia's state-run oil company Ecopetrol reportedly invested over $713 million in environmental projects in 2011. The environmental administration department of Ecopetrol used the money to adhere to legal standards and invest in voluntary projects aimed at improving and promoting environmental management.

May 29, 2012

The Schulenburg Sticker

American agricultural exports now have better access to the Colombian market as the long-awaited U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement (FTA) took effect May 15. The U.S.-Colombia FTA will lower tariffs on more than 80 percent of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial products to the South American country. “Texas farmers and ranchers benefit from free and open trade in global markets,” Donnie Dippel, Fayette County Farm Bureau president, said. “This free trade agreement with Colombia will increase opportunities for several Texas products.”

May 29, 2012

WIPO News & Events

Colombia became the 87th member of the international trademark system following the deposit of its instrument of accession to the Madrid Protocol for the International Registration of Marks by Vice President Angelino Garzón with WIPO Director General Francis Gurry on May 29, 2012. The treaty will enter into force with respect to Colombia, on August 29, 2012. The Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks (Madrid system) offers trademark owners a cost effective, user friendly and streamlined means of protecting and managing their trademark portfolio internationally.

May 31, 2012

Washington Times

With a major free-trade deal with Washington now in effect, Colombia is looking for American companies to help make Internet service available throughout the developing nation. Diego Molano Vega, the Colombian minister of information technologies and communication, said in an interview Thursday that officials in Bogota are focused on deploying 4G and fiber-optic networks throughout the country.

May 31, 2012

Colombia Reports

European trade ministers formally approved a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Colombia and Peru on Thursday, paving the way for the European Parliament to sign off on the deal in September. Ministers met in Brussels to officially approve the agreement, which is expected to cut tariffs on European goods by $620 million and boost Colombia’s GDP by 1.3%.