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Liechtenstein, Colombia Hold Key Trade Talks

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

24 August 2012

During a recent working visit to Liechtenstein, Columbia’s Deputy Trade Minister Gabriel Duque Mildenberg held talks with Liechtenstein’s Councillor Aurelia Frick, with the discussions focussing on relations between the two countries and in particular on foreign trade policy.

According to the Liechtenstein government, the Principality’s exports to Colombia have increased over the course of the last few years. The free trade agreement (FTA) between Colombia and members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), notably Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, entered into force in 2011 and currently serves as an authoritative basis for economic cooperation between Liechtenstein and Colombia, the government adds.

Following the meeting, Liechtenstein’s Frick welcomed Colombia’s commitment to deepening economic cooperation, highlighting the fact that both countries stand for a liberal economic order and have a strong interest in free trade. Colombia sees itself as a gateway to Latin America, Frick stressed, noting that the free trade agreement will serve as a good basis for increased trade with Colombia.

The Liechtenstein government confirmed entry into force of the FTA between EFTA and Colombia back in June 2011. At the time, the government underlined the comprehensive sectoral area of application of the treaty, explaining that the accord contains provisions pertaining to goods trade, investment, the protection of intellectual rights, government procurement, competition, and to economic cooperation.

Trade with agricultural products is regulated by a bilateral agreement that was simultaneously negotiated and concluded between Liechtenstein-Switzerland and Colombia.

Consequently, Liechtenstein and Switzerland gained duty free access to the Colombian market place for the majority of its manufactured products from July 1, 2011.

Underscoring the value of the agreements, the government stated in 2011 that it will now be possible for Liechtenstein and Switzerland to strengthen their economic and trade relations with Colombia, which shows significant growth potential. The agreements will also serve to remove existing disadvantages for companies based in the economic area of Liechtenstein and Switzerland compared to their main competitors, who currently benefit from, or will in future benefit from, preferential agreements with these countries. At the same time, the treaties establish a competitive advantage for businesses compared to countries that do not currently have such agreements in place with these trading partners.

TAGS: tax | business | Iceland | export duty | interest | Liechtenstein | Norway | agreements | Switzerland | trade

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