Colombia’s Open For Business With ‘Can-do’ Attitude
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by Morgan Smith (COTA Member), Guest Opinion
To quote Jack Barker, president of Innovative Water Technologies, "The mission was a great success. I have no doubt that...IWT will be doing a great deal of business in Colombia."
There also was a U.S. Department of Agriculture Latest from The Business Journals International Cos.' sales up 20% to 0 million, Conservation Service awarded 1M to farmers in 2011, UC Davis gets share of M grant to help Afghanistan's ag economy mission in Colombia when we were there. As for the "miracles," let me cite several.
The first is the extraordinary recovery Colombia has made from decades of violence and near anarchy. For example, in 2000, there were some 4,000 reported kidnappings. Now there are fewer than 20. The homicide rate has declined from 120 per 100,000 of population to 26. On November 4, Colombian forces killed Alfonso Cano, the leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which is likely to further advance peace.
The second was the signing of the Free Trade Agreement on October 12. Yes, dawdling by Democrats, my party, has allowed other countries like Argentina and Canada to cut deeply into our share of agricultural exports to Colombia, unnecessarily costing us farming jobs. And far too many members of my party voted against it: three of the four Democrats in the New Mexico delegation, for example. It's time to get moving, because Colombia will not only be a good market for U.S. companies, but it can also become an important “jumping off” point for the rest of Latin America.
The business community there is excited about the trade agreement. I visited Colombia's export promotion agency, Proexport; Asocolflores, the association of flower exporters; the Council of American Enterprises; and Amcham Colombia, and met a number of Colombian businesspeople. They are anxious to work more closely with the U.S.
The last and most important "miracle" involves the Victim's and Land Restitution Law that was signed by President Santos on June 13 and starts Colombia on a process of healing the wounds incurred in its decades-long and still unfinished civil war.