The Importance of Global Trade Content for Managing Free Trade Agreements

Posted by Anthony Hardenburgh

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anthony hardenburghUsers also need to Understand the Trade Content that Powers their Solutions

On May 14, 2012, President Obama signed the presidential proclamation that put the US-Colombia free trade agreement into force. Designed to promote the flow of certain goods and services between the countries, the free trade agreement was years in the making.

According to the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR), the tariff reductions in the Agreement will expand exports of US goods alone by more than $1.1 billion, supporting thousands of additional American jobs. The ITC also projected that the Agreement will increase US GDP by $2.5 billion. The Agreement will remove significant barriers to US goods from entering Colombia’s market, as over 80 percent of US exports of consumer and industrial products to Colombia will become duty free immediately, with remaining tariffs phased out over 10 years.

Because the agreement specifies changes in rules of origin and HS codes, it is critical that any organization using global trade management software ensure that its vendor made the appropriate updates to the underlying trade content and put them in place immediately. In fact, the US-Colombia FTA is affecting over 20,000 HS codes and over 800 rules of origin. This is a significant amount of content that required collection, analysis and interpretation so that it could be implemented in conjunction with the president’s signature.

Especially for organizations already doing business with Colombia, the FTA could mean substantial reductions in landed costs due to preferential treatment as of the effective date. Supply chain managers should be able to run scenarios that reflect preferential rates as they make sourcing decisions that may now include items from Colombia.

Don’t be afraid to speak with a representative from your GTM software vendor. Find out whether it anticipated the formalization of the agreement with the necessary updates to its trade content. You may also want to ask about how many trade specialists are on staff to monitor government information feeds from around the world as trade regulations change. Those specialists should have extensive backgrounds in compliance and global trade, as well as speak the languages of their countries of expertise.

Final Thoughts

GTM software users need to understand the importance of the trade content that powers their solutions and the critical role it plays in areas like free trade agreement management. As countries continue to expand the scope of these preferential programs, choosing a GTM vendor that offers both depth and breadth of trade content will become even more critical.

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This post was published on June 7, 2012 and updated on August 8, 2017.

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Topics: Duty Management, Global Trade Content, Trade Regulatory Content, Free Trade Agreements