WRAP’s Avedis Seferian talks about Africa’s sourcing potential

| Apr 19, 2013 | BY aseferian

This week, WRAP joins hundreds of exhibitors in Medellin for Colombiatex of the Americas from January 24 to 26.

Thanks to increased economic growth of Colombia’s textile industry over the last 23 years, Colombiatex of the Americas has become one of the best opportunities for businesses in the apparel export sector and is now ranked as the largest textile fair in Latin America.

Expectations for Colombiatex 2012 are high, with businesses hoping to increase opportunities for trade and export. Export dynamics are positively affected by the U.S. Congress’ recent approval of the free trade agreement (FTA), which allows the country’s entrepreneurs to position Colombia’s more than 500 products on preferential terms in a market with more than 310 million people.

Additionally, Colombian exporters are now considered equals in the international market, when compared to their counterparts in Chile, Mexico and Peru, which already have FTAs approved.

Another of Colombia’s neighbors, Brazil, is making a big push into the Colombian textile market following the creation of Texbrasil, a program created by the Exports Promotion Agency (APEX) to promote Brazilian textiles internationally. Brazil has more than 30,000 textile companies with a total production of $47 billion (USD) per year, making it the second largest textile producer in the world.

Another immediate benefit of the Colombian FTA is the creation of higher-quality jobs, a trend that occurs in the export sector when investment in the industry is revived.

Incidentally, as a result of the FTA, Colombia no longer depends on transitional arrangements, political swings or indecision on the part of foreign governments or the U.S. Congress for Colombian products to be treated in preferential terms in the international marketplace.

The Colombian government claims that the biggest winners from the FTA agreement are small and medium enterprises, who will gain new opportunities for growth because they can enter their goods and services into large production chains within the country and also supply exporte products. Work is underway to encourage relationships between investors and small Colombian companies, who would gain new resources and increased marketplace competitiveness through new investment.

However, it is clear that these opportunities will require the Colombian government to improve transport infrastructure such as ports, airports, navigable rivers, and railways.

For more information on Colombiatex, visit the website.