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Archive for the ‘Colombia’ Category

CRS — U.S. – Colombia Free Trade Agreement: Background and Issues (updated)

February 25, 2014 Comments off

U.S. – Colombia Free Trade Agreement: Background and Issues (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. State Department Foreign Press Center)

The U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement entered into force on May 15, 2012. It is a comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA) between the United States and Colombia, which will eventually eliminate tariffs and other barriers in bilateral trade in goods and services. On October 3, 2011, President Barack Obama submitted draft legislation (H.R. 3078/S. 1641) to both houses of Congress to implement the agreement. On October 12, 2011, the House passed H.R. 3078 (262-167) and sent it to the Senate. The Senate passed the implementing legislation (66-33) on the same day. The agreement was signed by both countries almost five years earlier, on November 22, 2006. The Colombian Congress approved it in June 2007 and again in October 2007, after it was modified to include new provisions agreed to in the May 10, 2007, bipartisan understanding between congressional leadership and President George W. Bush.

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Neighborhood Danger, Parental Monitoring, Harsh Parenting, and Child Aggression in Nine Countries

January 23, 2014 Comments off

Neighborhood Danger, Parental Monitoring, Harsh Parenting, and Child Aggression in Nine Countries (PDF)
Source: Societies

Exposure to neighborhood danger during childhood has negative effects that permeate multiple dimensions of childhood. The current study examined whether mothers’, fathers’, and children’s perceptions of neighborhood danger are related to child aggression, whether parental monitoring moderates this relation, and whether harsh parenting mediates this relation. Interviews were conducted with a sample of 1293 children (age M = 10.68, SD = 0.66; 51% girls) and their mothers (n = 1282) and fathers (n = 1075) in nine countries (China, Colombia, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, the Philippines, Sweden, Thailand, and the United States). Perceptions of greater neighborhood danger were associated with more child aggression in all nine countries according to mothers’ and fathers’ reports and in five of the nine countries according to children’s reports. Parental monitoring did not moderate the relation between perception of neighborhood danger and child aggression. The mediating role of harsh parenting was inconsistent across countries and reporters. Implications for further research are discussed, and include examination of more specific aspects of parental monitoring as well as more objective measures of neighborhood danger.

Country Analysis Brief: Colombia

January 9, 2014 Comments off

Country Analysis Brief:  Colombia
Source: Energy Information Administration

The enactment of a series of regulatory reforms to make the oil and natural gas sector more attractive to foreign investors led to an increase in Colombia production. The government implemented a partial privatization of state oil company Ecopetrol (formerly known as Empresa Colombiana de Petróleos S.A.) in an attempt to revive its upstream oil industry. However, after nearly a half-decade of relatively secure operations, attacks on oil and natural gas pipelines have increased. Expanded oil production will require discoveries of reserves and improvements to infrastructure safety.

In 2011, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that Colombia consumed 1.48 quadrillion British thermanl units (Btus) of total energy. Oil constituted the largest part of this amount, followed by hydroelectricity, natural gas, and coal. The country relies on hydropower for the bulk of its electricity needs and uses very little coal domestically. Of the 94.6 million short tons (MMst) of coal produced, Colombia exported 94% in 2011. Natural gas consumption in Colombia has grown, rising over 54% in the past decade.

New From the GAO

July 24, 2013 Comments off

New GAO Reports and Testimony
Source: Government Accountability Office

Reports

1. U.S.-Mexico Border: CBP Action Needed to Improve Wait Time Data and Measure Outcomes of Trade Facilitation Efforts. GAO-13-603, July 24.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-603
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/656141.pdf

2. National Transportation Safety Board: Management and Operational Improvements Found, but Strategy Needed to Utilize Cost Accounting System. GAO-13-611, July 24.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-611
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/656159.pdf

3. Building Partner Capacity: DOD Is Meeting Most Targets for Colombia’s Regional Helicopter Training Center but Should Track Graduates. GAO-13-674, July 24.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-674
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/656156.pdf

4. COMPETES Reauthorization Act: Federal Loan Guarantees for Innovative Technologies in Manufacturing. GAO-13-717R, July 24.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-717R

Testimony

1. Department of Energy: Observations on DOE’s Management Challenges and Steps Taken to Address Them, by David C. Trimble, director, natural resources and environment, before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, House Committee on Energy and Commerce. GAO-13-767T, July 24.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-767T
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/656138.pdf

CRS — Colombia: Background, U.S. Relations, and Congressional Interest

December 27, 2012 Comments off

Colombia: Background, U.S. Relations, and Congressional Interest (PDF)

Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Colombia, a key U.S. ally, has made measurable progress in providing security despite having endured the longest armed internal conflict in the Western Hemisphere. It has long been a source for both cocaine and heroin. Drug trafficking has helped to perpetuate conflict by funding both left-wing and right-wing armed groups. Colombia and the United States have forged a close partnership focused initially on counternarcotics and later counterterrorism. In recent years, the U.S.-Colombian relationship has broadened to include trade, human rights, and development. Colombia has emerged as a regional leader providing training in security and counternarcotics throughout the hemisphere and elsewhere.

President Juan Manuel Santos, elected in August 2010, has governed with the backing of almost 90% of the Colombian Congress in a “national unity” coalition. In a policy he calls “democratic prosperity,” Santos has continued the mission of his popular predecessor of accentuating security, while promoting economic development, creation of jobs, and poverty reduction. He has repaired relations with Ecuador and Venezuela, which had been strained under the former government. He has promoted legislative reforms including: a landmark law to compensate victims of the internal conflict; a justice reform bill that ultimately failed; and controversial “peace framework” and military justice reforms that appeared to be laying the groundwork for an eventual peace settlement. In October 2012, formal peace talks opened with the dominant leftist guerrilla organization, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), following a surprise announcement that the government had been conducting secret exploratory talks for six months.

Colombia, in close collaboration with the United States, through a strategy known as Plan Colombia, has made significant progress in reestablishing government control over much of its territory, combating drug trafficking and terrorist activities, and reducing poverty. Between FY2000-FY2012, the U.S. Congress appropriated more than $8 billion in assistance to carry out Plan Colombia and its follow on strategies. As Colombia’s security and development conditions improved, former U.S.-supported programs have been nationalized to Colombian control. Consequently, U.S. assistance with its counternarcotics, counterterrorism, judicial reform, economic development, humanitarian and human rights components, has gradually declined. The National Consolidation Plan, the current Colombian security strategy, updates Plan Colombia with a whole-of-government approach that integrates security, development, and counternarcotics by consolidating state presence in previously ungoverned areas.

The 112th Congress has maintained a strong interest in Colombia’s progress in trade, security, counternarcotics and human rights. In October 2011, the U.S. Congress approved implementing legislation for the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, which went into force on May 15, 2012. Members of Congress will continue to monitor the associated Action Plan Related to Labor Rights that addressed U.S. concerns related to labor rights and violence in Colombia. In addition to the larger debate about what role the United States should continue to play in Colombia’s ongoing struggle with drug trafficking and illegal armed groups, Congress has expressed concern with a number of related issues. These include: funding levels for Plan Colombia’s follow on strategies; continuing allegations of human rights abuses; and the effectiveness of counternarcotics policies such as aerial eradication and alternative development. Members will likely monitor Colombia’s peace negotiations and their effect on security conditions in the country. For additional information, see CRS Report RL34470, The U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement: Background and Issues.

Country Analysis Brief: Colombia

June 30, 2012 Comments off

Country Analysis Brief: Colombia
Source: Energy Information Administration

The enactment of a series of regulatory reforms to make the oil and natural gas sector more attractive to foreign investors served as an incentive for rising production. In addition, the government has implemented a partial privatization of state oil company Ecopetrol in an attempt to revive its upstream oil industry. The security situation in the country also has improved over the last decade, with fewer attacks against oil and natural gas infrastructure in recent years. Expanded oil production will require further investment in transport infrastructure and refining capacity.

In 2009, Colombia consumed 1.3 quadrillion Btus of total energy. Oil constituted the largest part of this amount, followed by hydroelectricity, natural gas, and coal. The country relies upon hydropower for the bulk of its electricity needs, so it is able to export most of the coal that it produces. Natural gas consumption in Colombia has also risen over the last decade.

CRS — The U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement: Background and Issues

May 8, 2012 Comments off

The U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement: Background and Issues (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, or U.S. Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement, as it is officially called, is a comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA) between the United States and Colombia, which will eventually eliminate tariffs and other barriers in bilateral trade in goods and services. The agreement will enter into force on May 15, 2012. On October 3, 2011, President Barack Obama submitted draft legislation (H.R. 3078/S. 1641) to both houses of Congress to implement the FTA. On October 12, 2011, the House passed H.R. 3078 (262-167) and sent it to the Senate. The Senate passed the implementing legislation (66-33) on the same day. The agreement was signed by both countries almost five years earlier, on November 22, 2006. The Colombian Congress approved it in June 2007 and again in October 2007, after it was modified to include new provisions agreed to in the May 10, 2007 bipartisan understanding between congressional leadership and President George W. Bush. Upon entry into force, the agreement will immediately eliminate duties on 80% of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial products to Colombia. Most remaining tariffs will be eliminated within 10 years of implementation.

The congressional debate surrounding the CFTA mostly centered on violence, labor, and human rights issues in Colombia. Numerous Members of Congress opposed passage of the agreement because of concerns about alleged violence against union members in Colombia, inadequate efforts to bring perpetrators to justice, and weak protection of worker rights. However, other Members of Congress supported the CFTA and took issue with these charges, stating that Colombia had made great progress over the last ten years to curb violence and enhance security. They also argued that U.S. exporters were losing market share of the Colombian market and that the agreement would open the Colombian market for U.S. goods and services. For Colombia, an FTA with the United States is part of its overall economic development strategy.

To address the concerns related to labor rights and violence in Colombia, the United States and Colombia agreed upon an “Action Plan Related to Labor Rights” that includes specific and concrete steps, with specific timelines, most of which took place in 2011. It contains numerous commitments by the Colombian government to protect union members, end impunity, and improve worker rights. The Colombian government submitted documents to the United States in time to meet various target dates listed in the Action Plan. The USTR reviewed the documents and determined that Colombia had met its major commitments.

The U.S. business community generally supports the FTA with Colombia because it sees it as an opportunity to increase U.S. exports to Colombia. U.S. exporters urged U.S. policymakers to move forward with the agreement, arguing that the United States was losing market share of the Colombian market, especially in agriculture, as Colombia entered into FTAs with other countries. Colombia’s FTA with Canada, which was implemented on August 15, 2011, was of particular concern for U.S. agricultural producers.

The United States is Colombia’s leading trade partner. Colombia accounts for a very small percentage of U.S. trade (1.0% in 2011), ranking 22 nd among U.S. export markets and 23 rd as a supplier of U.S. imports. Economic studies on the impact of a U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement (FTA) have found that, upon full implementation of an agreement, the impact on the United States would be positive but very small due to the small size of the Colombian economy when compared to that of the United States (about 2.2%).

Country Specific Information: Colombia

August 28, 2011 Comments off

Country Specific Information: Colombia
Source: U.S. Department of State

August 23, 2011

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Colombia is a medium-income nation of some 46 million inhabitants. Its geography is very diverse, ranging from tropical coastal areas and rainforests to rugged mountainous terrain. Tourist facilities in Colombia vary in quality and safety, according to price and location. Security is a significant concern for travelers, as described in the Department of State’s Travel Warning for Colombia. Read the Department of State Background Notes on Colombia for additional information.

State Department Travel Warning: Columbia

July 31, 2011 Comments off

State Department Travel Warning: Columbia
Source: U.S. Department of State

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the dangers of travel to Colombia. Security in Colombia has improved significantly in recent years, including in tourist and business travel destinations like Cartagena and Bogota, but violence by narco-terrorist groups continues to affect some rural areas and large cities. This updates and replaces the Travel Warning for Colombia issued November 10, 2010 to update information on recent security incidents and terrorist activity.

Terrorist activity remains a threat throughout the country. On August 12, 2010, a car bomb exploded outside the Caracol radio station in Bogota, injuring seven people. On October 21, 2010, Colombian authorities foiled another car bomb attack directed at the National Administrative Center in Bogota. On June 16, 2011, a satchel bomb exploded at a local monument in uptown Bogota, resulting in some damage to adjoining buildings, but no fatalities or injuries. Small towns and rural areas of Colombia can still be extremely dangerous due to the presence of narco-terrorists. While the Embassy possesses no information concerning specific and credible threats against U.S. citizens in Colombia, we strongly encourage you to exercise caution and remain vigilant.

The incidence of kidnapping in Colombia has diminished significantly from its peak at the beginning of this decade. Nevertheless, terrorist groups such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the National Liberation Army (ELN), and other criminal organizations continue to kidnap and hold civilians for ransom or as political bargaining chips. No one is immune from kidnapping on the basis of occupation, nationality, or other factors. Kidnapping remains a serious threat, with two kidnapping cases of U.S. citizens reported since August 2010. One kidnapped citizen was rescued within 4 days and the other case resulted in the murder of the victim. Kidnapping in rural areas is of particular concern. On July 2, 2008, the Government of Colombia rescued 15 hostages, including three U.S. citizens, who had been held for more than five years. Although the U.S. government places the highest priority on the safe recovery of kidnapped U.S. citizens, it is U.S. policy not to make concessions to or strike deals with kidnappers. Consequently, the U.S. government’s ability to assist kidnapping victims is limited.

Country Analysis Brief: Columbia

June 19, 2011 Comments off

Country Analysis Brief: Columbia
Source: Energy Information Administration

Colombia has seen a dramatic increase in oil production in recent years following a period of steady decline. The Colombian government has enacted a series of regulatory reforms to make the sector more attractive to foreign investors. In addition, it has implemented a partial privatization of state oil company Ecopetrol in an attempt to revive its upstream oil industry. The security situation in the country also has improved over the last decade, with fewer attacks against oil and natural gas infrastructure in recent years. Expanded oil production will require further investment in transport infrastructure and refining capacity. 

Map of Colombia

 

In 2008, Colombia consumed 1.4 quadrillion Btus of total energy. Oil constituted the largest part of this amount, followed by hydroelectricity. Colombia is also a large coal producer. The country relies upon hydropower for the bulk of its electricity needs, so it is able to export most of the coal that it produces. Natural gas consumption in Colombia has also risen over the last decade.

Socio-Economic Impact of Arms Transfers to Developing Countries

June 7, 2011 Comments off

Socio-Economic Impact of Arms Transfers to Developing Countries
Source: Social Science Research Network (Peace & Conflict Review)

In developing nations, importance placed upon defence spending comes at a social cost. This paper explores the link between developing nations’ arms imports and their impact upon socio-economic factors. The first part of this paper elaborates upon the problem of arms transfers to developing countries. The second part provides case studies of Colombia, Egypt, Eritrea, India, Iran, Namibia, Pakistan, Venezuela, and Vietnam. The comparative analysis demonstrates that arms imports have a negative impact upon developing nations. GDP per capita spent upon arms imports usually has the strongest impact upon socio-economic factors, though conflict status and regional stability are also influential.

Colombia: A Key Partnership

June 5, 2011 Comments off

Colombia: A Key Partnership
Source: U.S. Department of State

U.S. goods exports to Colombia in 2010 reached a record high of $12 billion, representing a 27% increase from 2009. A trade agreement with Colombia will help increase U.S. GDP by an estimated $2.5 billion goods exports by an estimated $1.1 billion.

  • Colombia is the third largest market for U.S. exports in Latin America and the 20th largest market for U.S. goods.
  • The Colombian government plans to invest $42 billion over the next eight years in urgently needed infrastructure projects, such as roads and airports, presenting opportunities for U.S. exporters.
  • The U.S. sold more products to Colombia than to Russia, Spain, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Chile, Peru, Indonesia, South Africa, Thailand, and the Philippines in 2010. Every U.S. state exports to Colombia.

+ U.S.‐Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (CTPA)

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