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The Importance of Free Trade

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Colombia strengthens its ties with its hemispheric neighbors.


BY CAMILO REYES

From June 12th to 14th, the city of Cartagena, Colombia will be the host of the XV version of the Business Future of the Americas Conference, which will bring together the representatives of the 23 American Chambers of Commerce in Latin America and the Caribbean, which together encompass more than 20.000 companies and 80 percent of U.S. investment in the region.

The central theme of the conference will be hemispheric integration, which requires an analysis of the principal challenges and opportunities, with the purpose of reviewing in greater detail the role that integration can play in the development of the continent, in the context of today´s global economy, where regional blocks play a fundamental role in the development of the trade, investment and countries’ growth.

For many years, the region has been working towards hemispheric integration, with the creation of sub-regional blocks, which subsequently have been transformed into free trade agreements (for example. ACE 24 Colombia-Chile); Andean Community, MERCOSUR, Central American Common Market, among others.

Colombia, convinced of the importance of the hemispheric integration and the drive that the free trade can offer to its economy, has negotiated free trade agreements with many of the countries of the hemisphere.  Currently, Colombia is close to the ratification of its trade agreement with the United States, which already is an important trading partner.  The agreement will ensure permanent preferential access to the world´s largest market and help attract new foreign direct investment.  In turn, for the United States, the agreement will improve its exporters´ access to the Colombian market and contribute to the goals of the U.S. National Export Initiative.  In addition, Colombia is also strengthening its trade and economic ties with other countries of the region. For example, Colombia, Chile, Mexico, and Peru recently announced an Agreement to Deepen Integration in the Pacific, which is another one of the developments in regional integration that will be addressed during the conference.

In light of the current scenario, AmCham Colombia is proud to be the host of the XV version of the Business Future of the Americas conference, at a time when the country is optimistic about its future and its trade and investment relationships with the countries in the region.

Camilo Reyes Rodriguez is the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce of Colombia.

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