Last week, Ambassador Sapiro visited Bogota, Colombia to formally launch the implementation phase of the U.S-Colombia trade agreement and to promote further progress on the implementation of the Colombian Action Plan Related to Labor Rights. While there, she met with President Santos, Prosecutor General Morales, Labor Minister-designate Pardo, Presidential High Counselor Crane, and other senior officials.
Ambassador Sapiro Meets with Colombian Officials
In a visit to an Éxito supermarket in Bogota, Ambassador Sapiro met with workers who were directly hired by the company after the announcement of the Colombian Action Plan Related to Labor Rights. Éxito is the nation’s largest retail chain, and Grupo Éxito, the parent company, is the number one private employer in Colombia, with over 62,000 employees. In 2007, Éxito received a local award for best company in Colombia in human resources management and has been named amongst the top five places to work in Colombia for the past three years. Ambassador Sapiro thanked Éxito representatives for demonstrating how Colombia’s Action Plan commitments have turned into concrete benefits for workers.
Ambassador Sapiro visits an Éxito supermarket
Later, Ambassador Sapiro visited a 3M facility in Bogotá and observed the scope of the company’s manufacturing capabilities. The facility is designed to display a wide range of 3M products and train professionals on their use. The products include medical supplies, secure IDs, protective gear, and reflective road signage. 3M Colombia officials described how the company will face a reduced tariff liability of over $1 million a year on its imports from the United States once the Colombia FTA enters into force. This will support U.S. jobs by making 3M products more competitive in Colombia and increase Colombian jobs by allowing 3M to reinvest in Colombia.
Ambassador Sapiro’s visit exhibited the United States’ commitment to labor rights with its trade partners and highlighted the benefits of the U.S.-Colombia trade agreement to American workers and businesses. Over 80 percent of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial products to Colombia will become duty free upon entry into force of the agreement with the remaining tariffs phased out within 10 years. The trade agreement will benefit agricultural and industrial sectors, amongst many, and provide access to Colombia’s $166 billion services market. The lifting of barriers to Colombia’s market means more jobs for American citizens.