WASHINGTON – On Aug. 15, the Canada-Colombia Free-Trade Agreement took effect. This agreement will result in fewer trade barriers and expanded opportunities for Canadian exporters and investors in a broad range of sectors, including agriculture, mining and financial services, according to the American Meat Institute.

Colombian import tariffs on Canadian beef are scheduled to be reduced to zero over a 12-year period with set amounts of tariff rate duty free quotas growing over that period and eventually providing Canadian beef with unlimited duty free access. Duties on Canadian pork will be phased out over 13 equal annual stages and will be duty free after that. Set amounts of tariff rate quotas shall start at 20 percent duty and phase out to zero within the tariff rate quota in five equal annual stages.

Canada’s meat industry is that country’s largest processing sector employing 67,500 people and totaling gross annual sales of more than $ 21.3 billion. Last year Canada exported more than $1.4 billion of beef and more than $2.8 billion of pork to over 150 different countries.