The Colombian Vice Minister of Foreign Trade, Laura Valdivieso Jimenez, met with the United States Undersecretary of Commerce, Gilbert Kaplan, with the goal of increasing exports of key products for Colombian agriculture such as mango, pitahaya, or paprika to that market.
This work, which is carried out jointly with the Ministry of Agriculture, ProColombia, and the Colombian Embassy, is part of the strategy to take advantage of commercial agreements and strategic markets to increase external sales and diversify the country's exportable supply. The export figures were analyzed during the meeting. Between January and July of this year, Colombia sold products to the US for 6.85 billion dollars, which accounts for 29% of the country's total external sales and confirms that the United States is Colombia's main trading partner.
At the meeting, the parties proposed strengthening cooperation in public purchases for Colombian companies in that country. In addition, it was made clear that Colombia is interested in taking advantage of the services market. In 2018, the United States investment in Colombia reached 2.478 billion dollars and in the first quarter of this year, it amounted to 596.2 million dollars.
With an investment of 2.5 billion dollars, the Ministry of Commerce and Productive Colombia has opened the call for the fourth phase of Quality for Export, a program that co-finances up to 70% of the companies' quality certification processes and the accreditation of laboratory trials to gain access to international markets and take advantage of the FTAs that the country has in force.
This co-financing allows companies and laboratories to carry out the specialized technical assistance, training, or auditing processes they require to obtain the necessary quality certifications to export. Companies and laboratories interested in participating in this program can apply until October 30, 2019.
“Analysis of Productive Colombia shows that 65% of the companies we have attended do not have any type of quality certification. The most common certification that the remaining 35% have is the ISO 9001, which is the minimum standard for companies with organizational culture to increase productivity. The Quality for Export program aims at promoting that the Colombian industry meets international standards and use them as tools to access new markets,” stated the president of Productive Colombia, Camilo Fernandez de Soto.
The call is national in nature and it is open to companies in processed food, cocoa and its derivatives, specialty coffees, and coffee, and fruit and its derivatives (Hass avocado, pineapple, mango, and papaya) sectors, among others.