May 16, 2013- News Clips - Colombia-U.S. FTA’s First Anniversary

The US Embassy of Colombia in Washington says the US./Colombian Free Trade Agreement has generated 28-and-a-half Billion in trade for both countries in its first year, benefitting ag trade both ways.

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On the heels of Travel and Tourism Week, Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank visited the Consular Section at the U.S. Embassy in Colombia today as part of the trade mission she is leading this week to Brazil, Colombia, and Panama.

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Today, Acting United States Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis welcomed growing exports for U.S. businesses, farmers, and ranchers on the first anniversary of the entry into force of the U.S.-Colombia trade agreement. U.S. manufacturers substantially increased exports of transportation equipment, petroleum and coal products, processed food, and computer and electronic products, while farmers and ranchers saw strong growth, including in soybeans, wheat, grapes, pork, and dairy products.

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Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) today hailed the one-year anniversary of the U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement’s (FTA) entry into force and touted the benefits it is already producing for the U.S. Economy.

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One of the Commerce Department’s top priorities is to strengthen the economic ties between the United States and our trading partners. One year ago today, the ties between the United States and Colombia became much stronger with the implementation of the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement, which Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank marked during her remarks today at a luncheon hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce and the Counsel of American Companies (CEA) in Bogotá, Colombia.

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U.S. Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank began the first leg of an infrastructure business development trade mission to Sao Paulo, Brazil; Bogotá, Colombia; and Panama City, Panama – three countries that are committing significant resources to infrastructure improvements in the coming years.

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This week, Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank will lead an infrastructure business development trade mission to Brazil, Colombia, and Panama, countries that have created robust infrastructure development plans for the coming years.

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At the 43rd Annual Washington Conference on the Americas, co-hosted by the U.S. Department of State and the Council of the Americas, US Vice President Joe Biden announced that he will travel to Brazil, Colombia, and Trinidad & Tobago during the week of May 26th, 2013.

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Brazil will be the focus of a U.S. trade mission for 20 companies including Morgan Stanley, CNH Global (CNH) NV, Textron Inc. (TXT)’s Cessna Aircraft Co. and OSI Systems Inc. (OSIS)’s Rapiscan, which makes airport screening devices. The delegation also will visit Colombia and Panama, where commercial investment is on the rise. … The mission coincides with the first anniversary of the implementation of the U.S.-Colombia free-trade agreement. “Colombia is launching a very ambitious infrastructure effort” worth about $26 billion over the next four years, Carlos Urrutia, the nation’s ambassador to Washington, said in a phone interview. “There should be a lot of opportunities for U.S. companies.”

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… Most every structure in Medellin is of red brick, topped with a red clay tile roof and surrounded by foliage and flowers. This is a city of parks and green spaces. The effect, again, is calming, peaceful. … As I said, Medellin is impressively green, with trees, plants and small gardens everywhere. It's also remarkably clean. In the central neighborhoods, you see no litter. The metro, a point of pride for the local population, is spotless and like new.

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Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday that he's headed to Brazil and Colombia as the Obama administration ramps up its engagement with Latin America.
Biden told the State Department's Washington Conference on the Americas that he's taking the trip "in the coming weeks."

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The Peñol-Guatapé Reservoir, built in the 1970s and still an important source of Colombia’s hydroelectric power, lies 80 kilometers east of Medellín, the country’s second city, with a population of 3.5 million. That proximity and the bucolic feel of the reservoir’s wooded shoreline and surrounding countryside, much of which has been given over to ranching, have helped turn the area into a prime weekend-home location for some Medellín residents.

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Colombia's coffee output surged in April as the country recovers from a spate of bad weather that hurt coffee harvests last year. Coffee output in April rose 85% from a year earlier to 1.07 million 60-kilogram bags.

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The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) today announced the completion of action plans for the Colombian cities of Barranquilla, Bucaramanga, Manizales, and Pereira, providing them with powerful tools to prioritize their investments over the next decade. The action plans provide preliminary estimates that the four Colombian cities require $2.2 billion in investments in areas such as urban development of socially vulnerable areas, expansion of public transport systems and provision of exclusive lanes for pedestrians and bicycles, renovation of historic centers, public safety, and strengthened fiscal management.

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The Bogota International Book Fair, whose guest of honor was Portugal this year, drew 18,000 more visitors than the 2012 edition, with total visitors hitting 433,000, organizers said. The 14-day fair, which closed its doors on Wednesday, saw attendance rise 4.3 percent from the 415,000 visitors registered last year.

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Photography enthusiasts are in for a treat over the next month, as Colombia’s capital of Bogota plays host to more than 30 exhibitions encompassing the work of both local and international talent. Bogota’s 5th biannual photography festival kicks off on May 4 and continues until June 15. Running on the theme of “Panoramic Landscapes,” the work of both local and international photographers will be showcased across 30 free exhibitions located in city streets, universities, on the Transmilenio bus system, at bus stops, in museums and galleries, and on billboards.

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Colombia’s Minster of Mines and Energy Federico Renjifo on Thursday announced that the country’s oil reserves increased by 5.22% from 2011 to 2012. “The net growth [in oil reserves] in 2012 was 5.22% versus the 2011 report, and an increase in relation to reserves over production,” said the minister. “We can affirm that the country has crude oil self-sufficiency for 6.9 years if we maintain the same level of production.”

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Feature length films, documentaries and shorts from Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Paraguay and the United States are being screened this weekend at the 2nd Filadelfia Latin American Film Festival, or FLAFF. The festival is aimed at helping Latin American film artists in the United States who want to get greater public recognition of their work as well as offering the public films to which they normally do not have access, said Brazilian Beatriz Vieira, the co-founder of FLAFF.

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The third episode of Bourdain’s Parts Unknown ends with a literal bang as Bourdain topples off an ATV. His location; however, is precisely what CNN’s newest show is all about. Bourdain is in Guajira, the rugged land of the Wayuu people in northern Colombia.

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April 29, 2013- News Clips - 12 Reasons to Visit Colombia

"My husband Paul and I just came back from our second trip to Colombia. We know what you are thinking: danger, danger, drugs, dissolution, despair. Here's what I am thinking: fabulous, friendly, fun, fave country."

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April 24, 2013- News Clips - Cartagena Strives to Become a Megaport

The Colombian Caribbean port of Cartagena is undergoing improvements to its infrastructure to become one of the world’s 30 best megaports by 2017. The nearly US$1 billion “Mega 2017” project is a two-stage process in which the port’s facilities will be upgraded and expanded so it can double the amount of cargo containers it can handle by the end of the year – putting it on the same level as the ports in the U.S. cities of Los Angeles, Long Beach and New York.

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A new oil pipeline in Colombia is set to start operating in July, an essential and much-awaited step in improving the country's archaic crude transportation infrastructure which is struggling to keep up with a surge in oil production in recent years. The Bicentennial oil pipeline, which will operate in eastern Colombia, is set to complete its first phase of construction in the coming weeks and is slated to go on-line in July with a capacity to transport 110,000 barrels of oil per day. That phase could eventually reach 140,000 barrels of oil per day.

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April 24, 2013- News Clips - Colombian Cuisine - From Aguardiente to Viche

Come to Colombia for the coffee, tropical climate and charming people; stay for the arepas, fresh fruit, abundant seafood, breakfast soups and powerful liquor.

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Top British and Colombian officials on Monday celebrated a new partnership that promises to strengthen ties in higher education, science and business. Colombia’s recent economic transformation, coupled with better security and a prospect for peace has ushered in a wave of trade interest from other countries. A British mission led by Minister of Universities and Science David Willetts brought optimism for Colombia’s future, as well as prospects for increased trade between the two nations.

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April 24, 2013- News Clips - A Closer Look at Colombia

A coastal country with deserts and mountains between its borders, Colombia draws the adventurous tourist with its varied terrain. Bocagrande beach in Cartagena is popular with kitesurfers during the warm season, which lasts from December till April.

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April 24, 2013- News Clips - Cities a Study in Colombia Contrasts

Bogota, the capital city. Pereira, in the heart of the coffee-growing region. And Cartagena, the coastal walled city. Three different cities, clearly representing the range of contrasts that makes Colombia so fascinating.

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Colombia’s foreign debt rating was raised to the second-lowest investment grade by Standard & Poor’s as economic growth increased tax revenue and peace talks with rebels boosted investor confidence.

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April 22, 2013- News Clips - Colombia’s Growing Avocado Model

The formation of CORPOHASS marks an important milestone for Colombia in the avocado industry, as it moves from domsetically focused sales to the international market. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the country was the world’s fifth largest producer of the fruit in 2011 with 215,322 metric tons (MT), slightly ahead of Peru at the time and 60,631MT behind the fourth ranked grower Indonesia.

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Colombia and the United States on Friday signed the Environmental Cooperation Agreement (ECA) to facilitate heightened cooperation on issues where the environment and trade intersect. Juan Gabriel Uribe of Colombia's environment and sustainability ministry, together with Robert D. Hormats, U.S. under-secretary for economic growth, energy and the environment, signed the U.S. - Colombia ECA in Washington D.C.

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