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Colombia ripe for Michigan fruits

The Republic of Colombia could be Michigan's next big market for agricultural produce. Representatives from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development are touring the country to explore the potential of recent free trade arrangements.

Department Director Keith Creagh said Michigan was looking to grow its international market share in agricultural commodities. The sector itself has grown 10% between 2009 and 2010.

Jamie Zmitko-Somers, the department’s international marketing manager, said there was potential in Colombia for Michigan produce such as apples, blueberries, cherries, and beans.

"What we’ve heard from buyers is they want American products and they know that Michigan has a reputation for high-quality produce," Zmitko-Somers said.

Colombia is going to be slowly eliminating some of its tariffs on US agricultural products over the next 15 years.

The Colombian agreement is one of three free trade arrangements set to come into effect in August this year, the other two being with Peru and South Korea. The USDA anticipates the arrangements to be worth an additional $45 million per year for Michigan agricultural exports.

Colombia already imports $135 million worth of Michigan goods per annum even before the tariff reductions.

Source: greatlakesecho.org

Publication date: 3/27/2012


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