January 16, 2014- Press Releases - Embajador Villegas destaca continuación de cooperación EE.UU-Colombia   El Embajador de Colombia, Luis Carlos Villegas, dio hoy la siguiente declaración tras conocer la decisión del Congreso de EE.UU. de aprobar el presupuesto para el año 2014, en el cual se da continuidad a la cooperación entre EE.UU. y Colombia.   “Quiero destacar el permanente apoyo de los Estados Unidos a Colombia. En este presupuesto se asignaron recursos por más de $320 millones de dólares que se destinarán al fortalecimiento de nuestras fuerzas armadas, al sostenimiento de nuestra biodiversidad, a la asistencia de comunidades indígenas y afrocolombianas, y a nuestra cooperación bilateral en seguridad para los países de Centroamérica.   Particularmente en un momento de restricción fiscal, la acción tomada por el Congreso para mantener el apoyo a Colombia demuestra un fuerte respaldo bipartidista para el programa y refuerza la importancia de la alianza estratégica de larga data.   Desde su creación en el 2000, el Plan Colombia ha sido uno de los esfuerzos más exitosos de cooperación entre Colombia y los Estados Unidos”.   Según expresó el Presidente Santos al término de su reunión con el Presidente Barack Obama en la Casa Blanca en diciembre del año pasado, “las relaciones entre los dos países, tal vez en este momento están en su mejor momento en muchísimo tiempo. Por eso nuestra agenda es mucho más amplia. Una agenda que ya se salió de los puntos tradicionales que eran seguridad, narcotráfico y derechos humanos, para ampliarse en temas como educación, tecnología, energía y cooperación mutua frente a terceros países”.  
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Colombia's Grupo Energia de Bogota said Thursday that it has entered into a $650 million deal to acquire a stake in a consortium that operates a major Peruvian gas pipeline.

 

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Avianca Holdings SA, Colombia’s biggest airline, gained the most in three months after Grupo BTG Pactual named the stock as one if its top picks in the transportation industry.

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January 9, 2014- News Clips - U.S. to Push For More Trade With Latin America

U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker unveiled a new initiative aimed at increasing business with trade partners in Latin America, only days after the 20th anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement's implementation.

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Marine fuel supplier OW Bunker said Monday it would start operations in Cartagena, Colombia. "The move into the Colombian bunker market builds upon OW Bunker's presence across the region with existing offices in Chile, Uruguay, Panama and Brazil," the company said in a statement.

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Travel + Leisure's Jane Wooldridge highlighted the "up-and-coming cruise port: Santa Marta, Colombia. She suggests an excursion that involves embracing Colombia's oldest city, where  you'll see artifacts of the Kogi and Arhuaco peoples in the Gold Museum-and tour the final home of 19th-century liberator Simón Bolívar."

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Marine fuel supplier OW Bunker said Monday it would start operations in Cartagena, Colombia. "The move into the Colombian bunker market builds upon OW Bunker's presence across the region with existing offices in Chile, Uruguay, Panama and Brazil," the company said in a statement.

 

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January 1, 2014- News Clips - Colombian Banks Spread Their Wings

Twenty years later and Colombia’s second city is more often associated with prosperous companies and impressive architecture, something exemplified by the headquarters of Bancolombia, the country’s largest commercial bank by assets, which is a gleaming $200m building the size of a cruise liner.

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Colombia is celebrated for five things: gold, emeralds, coffee, flowers and beautiful people, my tour guide explains. That’s all true. But there’s also so much more to enjoy in this South American republic, from historic fortresses and churches to stylish hotels and a growing restaurant scene.

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Colombia's economy grew by a faster-than-expected 5.1 percent in the third quarter, compared with the same period of 2012, the government said on Thursday, supporting the market view that the central bank will hold borrowing costs steady for a ninth straight month.

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Colombia's central bank held its benchmark lending rate steady at 3.25 percent for a ninth straight month as expected on Friday after a pick up in economic growth on strong consumer spending and as inflation remains at a six-decade low. The seven-member board will probably hold off making any directional decisions until the first few months of next year to gauge how the 200 basis points shaved from lending rates between July and March impact full year economic growth. "The tone of the statement was favorable," said Marisol Torres, an analyst at Helm Bank, regarding the bank's outlook on growth.

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December 20, 2013- Colombia in Focus Newsletters -
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Canacol Energy Ltd. (CNE), the crude explorer whose shares doubled in Bogota and Toronto this year, expects output may surpass a previous estimate of 15,000 daily barrels in 2014 following its Leono discovery in Colombia.

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December 19, 2013- News Clips - Construction Boosts Colombia's Economy

The Colombian economy grew much faster than expected last quarter as construction spending soared and the agriculture and mining sectors rose at a healthy pace, according to data released by the government Thursday.

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Colombia’s economic growth accelerated in the third quarter, led by construction and agriculture, after the central bank cut interest rates seven times in the nine months through March. Gross domestic product expanded 5.1 percent from a year earlier, compared with a revised 3.9 percent in the second quarter, the national statistics agency said today in Bogota. The expansion was faster than the 4.3 percent median forecast of 31 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. GDP expanded 1.1 percent from the previous quarter.

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With more than 5,000 attendants and dozens of powerful films and documentaries, last year's Colombian Film Festival held in New York City was a big success, bridging Colombians from all over the U.S. to those from their home country and celebrating the talent and creativity from the South American actors and directors.

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Colombia hopes to raise $2.6 billion dollars by auctioning more than 22 million hectares for oil exploration and production in 2014, the National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH) said. The Colombian oil sector has attracted a large influx of foreign direct investment in the last decade. The auctions, which the ANH announced on Tuesday night, are part of Colombia's strategy to increase production and crude oil reserves.

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The Governments of the United States and Colombia will hold the first meetings of the Environmental Affairs Council and the Environmental Cooperation Commission December 18-19, 2013. The Council and Commission were created through the United States - Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement Environment Chapter and the associated United States-Colombia Environmental Cooperation Agreement, respectively.

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December 18, 2013- News Clips - Colombian papayas make a splash in Canada

Growers from Colombia’s Alto Sinú zone in the department of Córdoba have managed to successfully ship regular papaya lots to the Canadian market since October, where they plan to slowly expand their presence while also opening up new markets. Frandy Group manager Francisco Osorio, whose company exports the fruit, told www.freshfruitportal.com Colombia had shipped 120 metric tons (MT) of papayas to Canada so far.

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Colombia’s economy grew close to 5 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, according to preliminary figures seen by Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas, led by construction and a recovery in coffee farming.

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These fruits are mainly exported to markets such as Ecuador and the European Union. Furthermore, Colombian passiflora producers are currently seeking to take advantage of the Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with countries such as the United States in order to enter new markets successfully.

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Colombia's economy grew 4.4 percent in the third quarter versus a year ago, the fastest expansion in more than a year, and a level that may prompt the central bank to hold the benchmark lending rate steady this week, according to a Reuters survey on Monday.

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December 16, 2013- News Clips - Ecopetrol Details US$10.6bn 2014 Investment Plan

Colombia state oil firm Ecopetrol (NYSE: EC) approved US$10.6bn of investment for next year, with 61% (US$6.46bn) to be directly invested by Ecopetrol and 39% (US$4.13bn) through its affiliates and subsidiaries, the company said in a press release.

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Totó La Momposina, the great singer of Colombian traditional music, received a lifetime achievement award at the Latin Grammys last month. But the 73-year old artist said the prestigious prize belonged less to her than to the centuries-old culture and music she represents – and the generations of Colombians who created it.

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According to the publication’s travel advice columnist and consumer news editor Wendy Perrin, 2014 will belong to South America, with countries like Brazil, Peru, Chile and Colombia on many a globetrotter’s to-do list.

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December 10, 2013- Colombia in Focus Newsletters -
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Fitch Ratings raised its credit ratings on Colombia, pointing to the country's positive government debt dynamics and its growth potential. Fitch, which boosted the foreign issuer default rating by one notch to triple-B, also revised the country's ratings outlook to stable from positive. The ratings firm initially raised its outlook on Colombia in March, citing its increased resilience to external shocks due to strengthening external accounts and favorable government debt dynamics.

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December 6, 2013- Colombia in Focus Newsletters -
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December 4, 2013- Op-eds - A New Alliance for Progress and Peace

Sometimes it is easy to forget that the bond between the United States and Colombia goes well beyond the familiar issues that have been recycled in headlines over the course of decades. Our strategic relationship is a remarkable story of friendship and respect between two democracies with shared values and mutual interests.

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December 4, 2013- News Clips - Free Trade Triumph Between U.S., Colombia

President Juan Manuel Santos talks about the trade agreement between the U.S. and Colombia. Santos also talks about the fight on global terrorism and whether a peace deal is achievable with the rebels.

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