Ambassador Markus Schlagenhof from Switzerland acted as the EFTA spokesperson, while Vice Minister of Commerce, Mr Javier Gamboa, led the Colombian delegation. The Joint Committee, which last met in November 2014, welcomed the continued smooth and effective implementation of the EFTA-Colombia FTA. The FTA, which entered into force between July 2011 and September 2014 for the five Contracting Parties, has broad coverage, notably including trade in goods and services, protection of intellectual property rights, investment and government procurement.
During this second Joint Committee meeting, delegations discussed possible improvements to the existing FTA in certain areas, such as the inclusion of provisions on trade and sustainable development. Moreover, both sides noted that previous bilateral technical cooperation projects had been successful, and exchanged views on possible new projects.
In its meeting the previous day, the Subcommittee on Rules of Origin, Customs Procedures and Trade Facilitation addressed the possibility of an update to the Harmonised System (HS) 2017, and exchanged views on possible new approaches in a number of areas pertaining to rules of origin and trade facilitation.
EFTA-Colombia merchandise trade was worth USD 1.2 billion in 2015. Among EFTA’s leading exports to Colombia were pharmaceutical products, organic chemicals and machinery. The main import items from Colombia were precious stones and metals, as well as coffee, tea, mate and spices