[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 233 (Tuesday, December 4, 2012)]
[Pages 71778-71780]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-29306]

[[Page 71778]]



International Trade Administration

U.S. Infrastructure Trade Mission to Colombia and Panama; 
Bogot[aacute], Columbia and Panama City, Panama, May 13-16, 2012

AGENCY: International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

ACTION: Notice.


Mission Description

    The United States Department of Commerce is organizing a Trade 
Mission to Bogot[aacute], Colombia and Panama City, Panama. Dates are 
May 13-16, 2013. This will be an executive-led mission, which will 
focus on helping U.S. companies launch or increase their export 
business in the promising sectors within the transportation 
infrastructure markets of these two countries. The mission will include 
business-to-business matchmaking appointments with local companies, as 
well as market briefings, and networking events. In both Colombia and 
Panama the governments and private sector are investing some $30 
billion in infrastructure projects. As a result, the mission will focus 
on export-ready U.S. firms in the following sectors: Building products, 
construction equipment, electrical power systems, safety and security 
equipment, airport supplies, logistics and distribution solutions 
providers, port equipment, and intelligent transportation systems 

Commercial Setting


    Colombia ranks solidly with the group of progressive, 
industrializing countries worldwide that have diversified agriculture, 
resources, and productive capacities. Despite the global economic 
crisis, Colombia's economic prospects are positive. In 2011, Colombia 
enjoyed 5.9% GDP growth and should maintain 4% in 2012. Colombia is 
attracting record amounts of foreign direct investment (FDI), which is 
further leading to rapid industrial development, necessitating the need 
for improved infrastructure. In 2011, Colombia attracted $13 billion in 
FDI, and is on pace to attract $15 billion in 2012. In addition, per 
capita income continues to grow as Colombia's middle class has doubled 
in the past 10 years.
    Colombia is the third largest market in the region, after Mexico 
and Brazil, and is ranked 22nd as a market for U.S. exports globally. 
Over the past 10 years, Colombia has become one of the most stable 
economies in the region. Improved security, sound government policies, 
steady economic growth, moderate inflation and a wide range of 
opportunities make it worthwhile for U.S. exporters to take a serious 
look at Colombia.
    Bogot[aacute], the capital of Colombia, generates approximately 30 
percent of the country's total gross domestic product (GDP). 
Bogot[aacute] offers diverse business opportunities in almost all 
economic sectors.
    The overall improvement in the national safety and security 
situation in Colombia has allowed the government to focus on improving 
its infrastructure development, which along with a boom in the 
extractive industries, has fueled the growth of U.S. exports to 
Colombia, including opportunities generated by highway, hotel and 
housing construction in Bogot[aacute] and coastal cities such as 
Cartagena and Barranquilla. The government of Colombia has earmarked 
$26 billion over the next 4 years for primarily road projects. However, 
on-going and future projects exist in airport modernization, sea and 
river port developments, and rail line upgrades. In addition, most 
major cities in Colombia are looking for solutions to improve internal 
transportation, including mass transit. A recently completed U.S. Trade 
Development Agency reverse trade mission focused on ITS highlights the 
opportunities that exist in Colombia across the board in transportation 
    Colombia's traditional acceptance of U.S. brands as well as U.S. 
and international standards provide a solid foundation for U.S. firms 
seeking to do business there. Moreover, the implementation of the US-
Colombia Free Trade Agreement on May 15, 2012 provided immediate duty-
free entry for 80 percent of U.S. consumer and industrial exports to 
Colombia, with remaining tariffs phased out over the next 10 years. The 
Agreement also opens the market for remanufactured goods and provides 
greater protection for intellectual property rights (IPR).


    Panama has historically served as the crossroads of trade for the 
Americas. Its strategic location as a bridge between two oceans and the 
meeting of two continents has made Panama not only a maritime and air 
transport hub, but also an international trading, banking, and services 
center. Panama's global and regional prominence is being enhanced by 
recent trade liberalization and privatization, and it is participating 
actively in the hemispheric movement toward free trade agreements. 
Panama's dollar-based economy offers low inflation in comparison with 
neighboring countries and zero foreign exchange risk. Its government is 
stable and democratic and actively seeks foreign investment in all 
sectors, especially services, tourism and retirement properties.
    Panama and the U.S. recently implemented a Trade Promotion 
Agreement (TPA) that has had the effect of eliminating some 90% of 
tariffs and duties on U.S. exports to Panama. But even before the 
implementation of the TPA, the U.S. was Panama's most important trading 
partner, with about 30% of the import market, and U.S. products have 
enjoyed a high degree of acceptance in Panama. In 2011, U.S. exports to 
Panama jumped 34% to $8.25 billion--in no small part due to the fact 
that Panama's economy grew 10.5%. However, international competition 
for sales is strong across sectors including telecommunications 
equipment, automobiles, heavy construction equipment, consumer 
electronics, computers, apparel, gifts, and novelty products.
    Panama now enjoys investment grade rating status, granting the 
Government of Panama international recognition for recent tax reforms 
and its record of steady GDP growth while keeping its deficits under 
control (even in 2009, a dismal year for the world economy, Panama's 
economy grew 2.9% and the Government of Panama's deficit was only 1% of 
GDP). Not only does the investment-grade rating lower the cost of 
borrowing for the Government of Panama, but it sends a strong market 
signal that Panama, even while carrying a debt ratio that is relatively 
high, is one of only five Latin American countries to achieve this 
    Panama's economy is based primarily on a well-developed services 
sector, accounting for about 75% of GDP. Services include the Panama 
Canal, banking, the Colon Free Zone, insurance, container ports, and 
flagship registry. Panama is currently engaged in the Panama Canal 
expansion project. This project, in conjunction with the expansion of 
the capacities of its ports on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, 
will solidify Panama's global logistical advantage in the Western 
    This logistical platform has aided the success of the Colon Free 
Zone (CFZ), the second largest in the world after Hong Kong, which has 
become a vital trading and transshipment center serving the region and 
the world. CFZ imports--a broad array of luxury goods, electronic 
products, clothing, and other consumer products--arrive from all over

[[Page 71779]]

the world to be resold, repackaged, and reshipped, primarily to 
regional markets. Because of this product mix, U.S. brand market share 
is significant, even if most of those products are made in Asia.

Mission Goals

    This trade mission is designed to help U.S. firms initiate or 
expand their exports to Colombia and Panama by providing business-to-
business introductions and market access information.

Mission Scenario

    The mission will stop in Panama City, Panama and Bogot[aacute], 
Colombia. In each city, participants will meet with pre-screened 
potential agents, distributors, and representatives, as well as other 
business partners and government officials. They will also attend 
market briefings by U.S. Embassy officials, as well as networking 
events offering further opportunities to speak with local business and 
industry decision-makers.

Proposed Time Table

Monday, May 13, 2013, Panama City,     Market Briefing.
 Panama.                               Matchmaking appointments.
                                       Networking reception.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013, Panama City,    Matchmaking appointments and/or site visits.
 Panama and Bogota, Colombia.          Travel to Bogota in late afternoon/early evening.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013, Bogota,       Market Briefing.
 Colombia.                             Matchmaking appointments.
                                       Networking reception.
Thursday, May 16, 2013, Bogota,        Matchmaking appointments and/or site visits.

Participation Requirements

    All parties interested in participating in the Executive-led Trade 
Mission to Colombia and Panama must complete and submit an application 
package for consideration by the Department of Commerce. All applicants 
will be evaluated on their ability to meet certain conditions and best 
satisfy the selection criteria as outlined below. A minimum of 15 U.S. 
companies and/or trade associations and maximum of 17 companies and/or 
trade associations will be selected to participate in the mission from 
the applicant pool. U.S. companies or trade associations already doing 
business with Colombia and Panama, as well as U.S. companies or trade 
associations seeking to enter these countries for the first time may 

Fees and Expenses

    After a company and/or trade association has been selected to 
participate on the mission, a payment to the Department of Commerce in 
the form of a participation fee is required. The participation fee will 
be $3,980 for large firm or trade association and $2,675 for a small or 
medium-sized enterprise (SME).\1\ The fee for each additional firm 
representative (large firm, SME, or trade association) is $450. 
Expenses for travel, lodging, most meals, and incidentals will be the 
responsibility of each mission participant.

    \1\ An SME is defined as a firm with 500 or fewer employees or 
that otherwise qualifies as a small business under SBA regulations 
(see http://www.sba.gov/services/contractingopportunities/sizestandardstopics/index.html). Parent companies, affiliates, and 
subsidiaries will be considered when determining business size. The 
dual pricing reflects the Commercial Service's user fee schedule 
that became effective May 1, 2008 (see http://www.export.gov/newsletter/march2008/initiatives.html for additional information).

Conditions of Participation

     An applicant must submit a completed and signed mission 
application and supplemental application materials, including adequate 
information on the company's products and/or services, primary market 
objectives, and goals for participation. If the Department of Commerce 
receives an incomplete application, the Department may reject the 
application, request additional information, or take the lack of 
information into account when evaluating the applications.
     Each applicant must also certify that the products and 
services it seeks to export through the mission are either produced in 
the United States, or, if not, marketed under the name of a U.S. firm 
and have at least fifty-one percent U.S. content. In the case of a 
trade association or trade organization, the applicant must certify 
that, for each company to be represented by the trade association or 
trade organization, the products and services the represented company 
seeks to export are either produced in the United States, or, if not, 
marketed under the name of a U.S. firm and have at least fifty-one 
percent U.S. content.

Selection Criteria for Participation

    Selection will be based on the following criteria, listed in 
decreasing order of importance:
     Suitability of the company's (or, in the case of a trade 
association or trade organization, represented companies') products or 
services for the Colombian and Panamanian markets
     Company's (or, in the case of a trade association or trade 
organization, represented companies') potential for business in 
Colombia and Panama, including likelihood of exports resulting from the 
     Consistency of the applicant's goals and objectives with 
the stated scope of the trade mission

Referrals from political organizations and any documents containing 
references to partisan political activities (including political 
contributions) will be removed from an applicant's submission and not 
considered during the selection process.

Timeframe for Recruitment and Applications

    Mission recruitment will be conducted in an open and public manner, 
including publication in the Federal Register (http://www.gpoaccess.gov/fr), posting on ITA's trade mission calendar--http://export.gov/trademissions--and other Internet Web sites, press releases 
to general and trade media, direct mail, broadcast fax, notices by 
industry trade associations and other multiplier groups, and publicity 
at industry meetings, symposia, conferences, and trade shows. 
Recruitment will begin immediately and conclude no later than Friday, 
February 15, 2013. The U.S. Department of Commerce will review 
applications and make selection decisions on a rolling basis until the 
maximum of fifteen participants is reached. We will inform all 
applicants of selection decisions as soon as possible after the 
applications are reviewed. Applications received after the February 
15th deadline will be considered only if space and scheduling 
constraints permit.

[[Page 71780]]

How To Apply

    Applications can be downloaded from the trade mission Web site or 
can be obtained by contacting Arica Young, Carlos Suarez or Enrique 
Tellez at the U.S. Department of Commerce (see contact details below.) 
Completed applications should be submitted to Arica Young, Carlos 
Suarez or Enrique Tellez.


Arica N. Young, Commercial Service Trade Missions Program, Tel: 202-
482-6219, Fax: 202-482-9000, Email: [email protected]
Carlos Suarez, US Commercial Service Colombia, Tel: 57-1-2752519, 
Email: [email protected]
Enrique Tellez, US Commercial Service Panama, Tel: 507-317-5080, Email: 
[email protected]

Elnora Moye,
Trade Program Assistant.
[FR Doc. 2012-29306 Filed 12-3-12; 8:45 am]