WASHINGTON - On Friday, October 22, 2021, the United States and Colombia held the third meeting of the Free Trade Commission (the “Commission” or the “FTC”) under the United States – Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (the “Agreement” or the “CTPA”). The Commission is responsible for supervising implementation and overseeing the further elaboration of the CTPA.
The meeting was led by Daniel Watson, Assistant United States Trade Representative for the Western Hemisphere, and Andrés Cárdenas Muñoz, Colombia’s Vice Minister of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism.
Colombia and the United States reviewed trade and economic developments related to the CTPA since the last Commission meeting, which took place in August 2018, and reaffirmed commitment to working together on shared priorities, including labor and environment, and their shared interest in promoting inclusive trade policies. The Parties also received reports from the Committees on Agricultural Trade, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Matters, and Technical Barriers to Trade, and discussed bilateral issues of concern.
Both countries agreed to hold an Environmental Affairs Council (“EAC”) meeting in 2022 to review implementation of the environment chapter, and directed our customs and trade facilitation teams to hold follow up discussions on best practices, lessons learned, and future plans, especially with regard to the digitalization of customs procedures. We also directed our staff to include on our next FTC meeting agenda an exchange of information regarding each country’s programs related to small and medium-sized businesses.
The Parties also had a robust discussion of labor matters, including the Biden-Harris Administration’s Worker-Centered Trade Policy. They discussed progress and how they can work together to address challenges related to the issues identified in the Department of Labor’s 2017 Public Report of Review of U.S. Submission 2016-02 (Colombia).
In addition, both countries discussed other issues of concern, including textiles and apparel, intellectual property, de minimis, agriculture-related issues, and steel and aluminum.
The United States looks forward to continuing constructive and open engagement with Colombia to implement the CTPA to the benefit of both countries.