The Israeli ministry of economy said Monday that Israel has signed a free trade agreement (FTA) with Colombia that will take effect next year.
The agreement was signed in Jerusalem by Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett and Colombian Industry and Tourism Minister Sergio Diaz-Granados. The agreement stipulates a reduction of tariffs on agricultural and industrial products traded between the two countries.
Beginning next year, 70 percent of exports from one to country to another will be exempt from trade barriers and import taxes and by the end of the decade that number will extend to 100 percent of products.
The agreement will not only reduce tariffs on industrial and agricultural products between the two countries, but also enable Israeli companies and individuals to invest with greater ease in the Colombia economy, considered one of the strongest in South America.
The accord calls for reduced import tariffs on Colombian agricultural products, and strengthens bilateral cooperation between the two countries in areas such as technology, basic sanitation and agricultural development.
The accord marks "Colombia's first agreement with the Middle East" country and "opens up opportunities for Colombia in a market that though small in size has great purchasing power,"
Colombia’s economy has become the third largest in Latin America with an annual growth of 4.0%, in 2012 and expected growth of 4.5% in 2013. Bilateral trade between the two countries was US$770 million. Israeli exports to Colombia totaled some US$200 million in 2012, and consisted mostly of communications equipment, machinery, electrical and mechanical devices and chemical products. Israel import from Colombia totaled US$570 million, mostly coal, coffee and sugar.