4 Apr 2017

Successful export support project completed in Colombia

The WTI SECO programme provided funding for two short seminars for Colombian producers-exporters, industry representatives and government officials, which were held in Cali (22-24 March) and Bogotá (27-29 March) with the support of government export agency PROCOLOMBIA.

Sofía Boza (University of Chile) and Christian Häberli (WTI Fellow) presented the rules applying to non-tariff barriers (SPS and TBT) which Colombian producers and traders face in their exports to Switzerland/EFTA and to the European Union.

Interactive Skype sessions between Swiss importers and Colombian exporters as well as practical cases and company presentations allowed for a much better understanding of the issues involved, in particular for SMEs and startups. The success (and failure) narratives presented were aimed at encouraging interaction with PROCOLOMBIA’s support programmes and reaching out to European importers for a number of food and non-food products for which Europe is still a largely uncharted terrain.

Contributions from the ministry of trade, industry and tourism, the Swiss embassy and the Swiss-Colombian Chamber of Commerce highlighted the new regulatory context and its opportunities.

The relatively new trade agreements with the EU and EFTA are seen as providing a useful basis for Colombia, a country just emerging from an internal conflict spanning several decades which set back efforts to promote exports and harmed the country’s reputation.

Participants and organisers concluded the seminars had been successful in meeting expectations and would lead to more exports.


Christian Häberli