According to an article in Latinvex, a Latin American journal, implementations of U.S. free trade agreements (FTAs) in Latin America have caused an increase of U.S. exports to the region by 9.3 percent in 2012, lowering the U.S. trade deficit by 24.7 percent.
The United States currently has two regional and three bilateral FTAs in the Latin-American region. These 11 countries represent nearly 80 percent of U.S. trade with Latin America.
Among the countries that spearheaded this growth of U.S. exports were Colombia and Panama, which implemented FTAs with the United States last year. Both are in the top 5 percent of countries with the most growth in trade with the United States.
In fact, U.S. exports to Colombia and Panama increased by 14.5 and 20.3 percent respectively, and are the fifth and sixth largest in the region for U.S. export growth.
"With the Colombian Price Ban System set to be adjusted in April 2013, there is an opportunity for U.S. corn to return to the Colombian market," said Kurt Shultz, U.S. Grains Council regional director in Panama.
"This assumes the cost, insurance and freight price of U.S. and South American corn will continue to decline, allowing it to fall into the price ban mechanism."
If prices do decline, U.S. corn will have a 5.75 percent duty advantage over South American corn, allowing U.S. corn to begin benefiting from the recently signed free trade agreement.
"While U.S. corn exports to Colombia are currently low, U.S. producers and exporters should remain optimistic. The FTA has created a long-term advantage for U.S. corn imports and the future could bring rapid growth in the U.S. corn market share in Colombia."