Xinhua | 30 Sep 2013
Colombia, Israel ink free trade accord
Bogota, Sept. 30 (Xinhua) — Colombian Trade, Tourism and Industry Minister Sergio Diaz-Granados said Monday his country has signed a free trade agreement (FTA) with Israel that will take effect next year.
"We signed the agreement with Israel’s Ministry of Commerce after nearly 18 months of negotiations," Diaz-Granados was quoted by local media as saying.
The accord marks "Colombia’s first agreement with the Middle East" country and "opens up opportunities for us in a market that though small in size has great purchasing power," he said.
The accord calls for reduced import tariffs on 98 percent of Colombian agricultural products, and strengthens bilateral cooperation between the two countries in areas such as technology, basic sanitation and agricultural development, the minister said.
According to the official, Colombia has also been engaged in trade negotiations with Japan and it is expected that a free trade agreement between Colombia and Japan could be reached next year.