Columbia President Juan Manuel Santos and Israeli President Shimon Peres signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) last week in Jerusalem.
The agreement was signed in the presence of the countries’ economic and trade ministers: Sergio Díaz Granados and Nafatlí Bennet.
The endorsement of the FTA comes after nearly 15 months negotiations regarding the bilateral agreement.Once the agreement comes into effect, 70% of goods exchanged between the countries will be exempt from customs taxes– a percentage that will steadily increase levels of commerce between the two nations over the next ten years.
Bilateral commerce between the Colombia and Israel currently amounts to about $US700m annually, with Colombian exports comprising about 78% of total trade.
There are 100 Israeli companies currently active in Colombia in the fields of telecom, water, agriculture and green energy.
The agreement will now be sent to the legislature of both countries, which are expected to ratify the FTA. Pending congressional approval, the stipulations of the accord are to become effective in September. Santos and Peres also signed an agreement concerning air service that is to facilitate commerce traffic between the two countries. The presidents separately agreed upon terms for exchange of scientific and technological goods.