The Embassy along with the Colombian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism and ProColombia, organized a strategy to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the Free Trade Agreement between Colombia and the United States. The strategy consisted of two events.
The first was an academic forum organized in partnership with the Washington International Trade Association at the International Trade Center’s Ronald Reagan Building. The forum had a vibrant agenda that included former and current policy makers, congressmen and business leaders and a whole array of distinguished personalities from both countries. Among them was the Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marta Lucia Ramirez; the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Maria Ximena Lombana; the President of ProColombia, Flavia Santoro, former Ministers, former Ambassadors, negotiators of the agreement, US Congressman Kevin Brady, current and former US officials, Presidents of trade associations and businessmen from different economic sectors.
The forum provided fruitful discussions that included success stories of the last 10 years, as well as a review of challenges and opportunities for the decade to come.
The second event was an evening cocktail reception at the Residence of the Ambassador which highlighted some of the industries, sectors and products that have benefitted from the US-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (CTPA). The reception showcased Colombia’s capabilities for sourcing, and as an investment and tourism destination.
Guests had the opportunity to journey through an exhibit around the residence of the ambassador as it has never been done before in Washington, D.C. Each corner of the house provided guests with an immersive experience where they had the chance to taste, touch, look, feel and smell Colombian export products. In this way, guests were able to tour the Residence, appreciating the products and services that today have a presence in the U.S. market, and learned about those industries that continue growing exponentially.
Through this exhibition, attendees evidenced the impact of the CTPA in the consolidation of a great relationship between Colombia and the United States. They flavored the products that have gained access to the market over the last decade, such as avocado, golden berries, blueberries, prepared by Colombian chef Juan Manuel Barrientos and his team of the Michelin-starred El Cielo Restaurant. Guests learned about the Colombian Industries that have greatly benefited from the CTPA such as 4.0 Industries, with business like FedeSoft, Kiwibot, Innpulsa and Servientrega; textiles and fashion industry with samples of brands such as Maaji, Agua Bendita, CIJeans and Crystal, taking into account Colombia is the main supplier of swimwear in the U.S. There were also success stories of leading innovative companies in the manufacturing sector such as Procaps and Willard Batteries.
Guests found a typical Colombian store, where they could taste and take home different sweets and emblematic snacks such as bom bom bun, arequipe, nucita, platanitos, tosh cookies, trail mix, and crackers. Of course, coffee had its own spot in the exhibition in the hands of the Federation of Coffee Growers, exhibiting other specialty coffees and cocoa like Café Mesa de los Santos, Gironés chocolates, San Alberto coffee, and Origen chocolates, that won the Salon du Paris Recognition. Asocolflores, the flower growers association, donated 3,000 flower stems from seven different farms that guests could contemplate and even take in their own DIY bouquets.
There was a section dedicated to handcrafts and artisan objects like hammocks, hats, bags, that even included an artisan weaving in real time. Flor Amazona, a jewelry company that works with women heads of households and works with sustainable materials also enchanted guests with their 34K gold-plated jewelry.
Both events were part of an ongoing series of events commemorating two centuries of diplomatic relations between Colombia and the United States.