Columbia gets first U.S. grain after FTA implementation

The U.S. Grains Council‘s U.S., Colombia Free Trade Implementation Team witnessed the first shipment of U.S. grain being unloaded in Colombia after the implementation of the U.S., Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) on May 15.

The Cargill shipment arrived at the port of Santa Maria May 30, containing 30,000 metric tons of U.S. grain: 9,900 tons of corn; 12,000 tons of wheat; 3,850 tons of distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS); and 6,450 tons of corn gluten feed pellets.

“It was exciting to see the U.S. products being unloaded,” said Deb Keller, USGC Rest of the World Advisory Team leader who traveled with the group. “I particularly liked the fact that it wasn’t just corn. The United States is able to diversify its shipments to better meet customer’s import needs. This puts the United States at a significant market advantage. It means more vessels coming out the United States and more assurance of customer satisfaction — a win-win for everyone.”

Doyle Lentz of the North Dakota Barley Council, who also traveled with the group, commented on the impact this agreement has already made and will continue to make in the future.

“Today we witnessed how the free trade agreement impacts American agriculture. This Cargill shipment signifies access to a market we may not have had otherwise,” he said.

After a quick tour of the port, the team met with the operations manger of the Sociedad Portuaria Regional de Barranquilla S.A. (SPRB), one of Colombia’s largest importers. While Barranquilla is diversified in its imports, steel and grain are by far the largest products, due to the great demand of this economically thriving country.

“The [U.S., Colombia] free trade agreement provides many opportunities for Colombia and especially Barranquilla,” said Pablo Riveira de la Rosa of SPRB. “Barranquilla is the city of the FTA. We are growing and are within close proximity of the United States.”

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