Colombia is a country that has been slowly increasing its participation on international trade during the past two decades. Recent years have shown Colombia that an aggressive international trade policy could rapidly increase the nations GDP. Besides it has also show Colombia’s goverment that a non dependencypolicy on its traditional trade partners, generates more benneffits in this field that any other policy. The following chart illustrates the size of Colombia’s International Trade Market.
Colombia has signed several multilateral and bilateral free trade agreements, that led to a complex system of tariffs applied differently according to each treaty. Full implementation will takeseveral years, but once achieved, would give Colombia access to a free market of over 200 million people. None the less the prior import-licensing requirement has been virtually eliminated. Approximately 97 percent of the 5,162 items in the Colombian Harmonized Tariff Schedule are now on the free import list (i.e., no license required). Import prices are now undergoing closer scrutiny (for dutycollection purposes) Some of the FTAs include:
1) the Andean Community (ANCOM) with Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia (Peru withdrew in April 1997, and Venezuela remain in a diplomatic uncertainty state);
2) the Latin American Integration Association (LAIA) with Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras and Cuba, which was laterrenegotiated country by country on a bilateral basis;
3) the G-3 (Colombia, Mexico, and Venezuela);
4) the Colombia-Chile bilateral agreements.
Colombia has also requested admission to NAFTA, and signed agreements with the United States, Canada, European Union and The European Association.
Colombia and Asia
The Commercial opportunities for Colombia in Asia, have been structured into astrategic State Policy since 2008. Colombia imports from Asia are currently the 22% of the total Colombian imports from the world, and its exports to Asia are just 5% of its total exports to the world. Colombia exports mainly Iron, scrap metals, coffee, leathers and flowers to Asia. In 2007 these exports value were US $ 1.403 million dollars. 72% of them went to China, Japon and South Korea. On theother hand Colombia imports from Asia mostly, electrical devices and machinery, vehicles, plastics and rubber articles. These imports were valued in US $ 6388 million dollars.
According to Colombia’s Official Negotiations Agenda, Thailand has been targeted as a potential market for Colombia’s trade interests. That is, because it represent a very dynamic market, because Thai imports have beenrising, and finally because Colombia’s product in Thailand’s markets are in severe risk of being displace by competition from other countries. Although in a 22 ranking according to 17 different criteria, in this study Thailand was located in the 19th position mainly because of the lack of political will to negotiate Free Trade Agreement between the two nations and the scarce bilateral tradebetween the two nations (19 million dollars).
Thailand top exports to Latin America include Motor Cars, parts and accessories, Machinery, engines, rubber products, man made filaments, household appliances, while, the top imports from Latin America include vegetables and animals products, iron and steel products, oil, metal ores and metal waste scrap and, pharmaceutical products. Although Thailandstotal trade with Latin America represents only 1.96 % of Thailand’s total trade with the world (9,722 million USD) and with South America only 1.72% of Thailand’s total trade (6,153.82 million USD); trade with Brasil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Colombia, constitute 80% of total trade with this region, fairly balanced in its exports and imports value.