Colombian economy 31
Thanks to the Colombian government’s recent tax reform law (see Medellin Herald on December 29, 2016), Wall Street bond rater Fitch has just decided to upgrade Colombia’s debt-risk outlook to “stable,” up from its former “negative” rating.
Colombia’s national economic statistics agency (DANE) announced February 22 that gross domestic product (PIB in Spanish initials) grew 2% year-on-year in 2016, down from 3.1% in 2015.
Colombia’s national economic statistical agency -- Departamento Administrativo Nacional de Estadística, DANE -- reported February 14 that its latest monthly manufacturers’ survey (Encuesta Mensual Manufacturera, EMM) shows a strong industrial rebound for full-year 2016.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank this month issued nearly identical 2.6% and 2.5% growth projections for Colombia gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017.
The Colombian-American Chamber of Commerce (Cámara de Comercio Colombo Americana) on October 20 hailed recent advances in the “Plan Vallejo” regulatory and reporting scheme that covers imports and exports into-and-out-of Colombia.
Colombia’s monthly manufacturing index (“EMM” in Spanish initials) rose 9.4% year-on-year in August 2016 -- the latest month for which statistics are available -- according to an October 19 report from the national statistics department (Departamento Administrativo Nacional de Estadística-DANE).
Colombia’s national statistics agency (Departamento Administrativo Nacional de Estadística, DANE) announced August 22 that exports from various free-trade zones (“zonas francas”) soared 85.7% year-on-year in June 2016, boosted by favorable peso-to-dollar exchange rates.
Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos and Transport Minister Jorge Eduardo Rojas Giraldo announced July 22 that a 45-days-long national truckers’ strike – aggravated by acts of violence and vandalism against non-strikers -- has finally been settled, much to the relief of freight shippers and receivers.
According to the settlement agreement, the government will establish “clear procedures” to facilitate monetary compensation to small-business truckers that participate in the national “scrappage” (chatarrizacion) program, which aims to cut the current over-supply of trucks.
That program also would help Colombia get rid of old, high-polluting, mechanically unsafe trucks, which compete unfairly against costlier, modern, low-pollution, mechanically sound trucks.
The current “chatarrizacion” program has been plagued by corruption and schemes whereby old trucks weren't actually scrapped, but just relabeled or fitted with parts from other trucks, according to the government.
“Our country needs a system of freight transport that is just, transparent and efficient, so that [freight shippers] pay fair prices and truckers are guaranteed their rights,” added Transport Minister Rojas.
Key points in the settlement agreement:
1. An immediate end to the truckers strike that had been promoted by four national trucking trade groups.
2. Updating of a published list of “reference costs” including highway toll-charges, fuel costs and maintenance costs. In certain trucking routes where there is a “significant difference” between real costs and reference costs, the national government will establish a temporary price with the help of a “Cargo Observatory” expert study group.
However, Colombian regulations no longer will include a table of freight-cost charges that had been developed in prior decades. Instead, the new scheme will allow “supervised,” free-market freight charges along with published reference costs.
3. The “chatarrizacion” program will continue the current policy whereby for each old freight truck destroyed, one new freight truck can enter the Colombian trucking market.
Funding for the “chatarrizacion” program will ensure that small-business truckers can be compensated for scrapping their old vehicles “without corruption, without intermediaries, without mafias,” Minister Rojas added.
The deal also calls for truck-driver employees to be paid what they’re actually owed and be treated with "dignity" at loading and unloading sites including Colombia’s ocean ports, the Minister said. A new study will be launched to investigate other trucker risks, possible retirement programs and housing-subsidy programs, he added.
The latest report from Banco de la Republica -- Colombia’s national currency and banking regulator -- shows that foreign direct investment (FDI) in Colombian business sectors other than petroleum and mining has jumped 64% this year, to US$2 billion.