Issue 30 | October 5, 2012

Japan, Colombia to launch Free Trade Agreement talks
During the last weekend of September the United Nations held its 67th General Assembly in New York City, NY.  The avid topics of foreign policy were highly debated, while the kindling of international trade agreements began to burn.  During this past Assembly, Colombia and Japan began talks into formulating a Trans-Pacific Free Trade Agreement (FTA).  While agreement negotiations are being concocted, a high level of trade is being exchanged daily between these two countries.  Japan and Colombia trade accounts for $2 billion in trade, according to the Japanese External Trade Organization.  Most exports coming from Japan are automobiles and auto parts, while Japan imports agriculture from Colombia.  Dependent on negotiation finalization, Japan will be Colombia's first Asian FTA partner.  Read more.  

European Union to release shipping emissions reduction plan next year
By early next year the European Union will introduce a system aimed at reducing greenhouse emissions in the ocean shipping industry. Efforts to curb pollution on the seas aren't moving fast enough. Several options are being considered, including market-based mechanisms and the creation of a system to monitor, report and verify pollutants based on fuel consumption. The EU has also suggested taxing carriers for the emissions produced by their vessels. The International Maritime Organization estimates global shipping contributes about 3.3 percent of the world's man-made emissions. Such pollutions would expand by up to 250 percent by 2050 if the new rules aren't in place. Read more
Final $7.5 million in funding approved for Port of Los Angeles Main Channel Deepening Project
On Sept. 20, through the efforts of the Los Angeles Harbor Commission, the final $7.5 million dollar installment was approved for the Port of Los Angeles' Main Channel Deepening Project (MCDP).  Following the same project undertaken by the Commission at the Panama Canal, the authorities at the Port of L.A. see this as a huge statement in modern port infrastructure.  By deepening channels to a depth of 53 feet, the Port  will now be able to host all types of maritime logistics.  In early 2013 the 15 year $370 million dollar project will be completed.  With the Port in its final stages of the MCDP, many trade enthusiasts foresee further growth to the Port. Read more.
Exports from U.S. metropolitan areas totaled $1.31 trillion in 2011
Based on new statistical data from 2011, 367 metropolitan statistical areas (MSA's) accounted for $1.3 trillion in 2011.  This new figure denotes a 40 percent increase in merchandised goods since 2009.  The Department of Commerce, also mentions that 40 percent of the 367 MSA's recorded an export figure of more than $1 billion.  This large increase in trade figures only bolsters economic upturn and employment to the American population, said Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Black.  Much of this trade increase rides on the North American Free Trade Agreement.  Increases to Mexico have proved to be a significant factor to this recent growth, increasing 21.6 percent over the 2010 and 2011 fiscal year.  Read more.
China & Central America relations continue at an exponential rate
Recently, China signed seven agreements on cooperation, trade and security with Ecuador. The agreements were signed on Friday, Sept. 28 with Trade Minister of the Republic of China Chen Deming. While some countries have lacked a presence in Central and South America, China has taken the opportunity to be in Latin America news almost on a daily basis. Their efforts also include a signed agreement with the private sector to purchase Ecuadorian seafood, cocoas and bananas for $33 million. A promise that the Republic of China has said to follow is to expedite processes that facilitate the entry of products including mangoes and lemons.
Read more.
U.S. - Panama trade deal to go into force soon
On Sept. 28, United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk, updated the public on the status of the U.S.-Panama Free Trade Agreement (FTA stating, "We anticipate the U.S.-Panama trade agreement will be implemented very soon."  After the conclusion of the Korean and Colombian FTA's, a FTA between Panama and the United States will allow for job creation though service exports.  At the moment Panama is in the process of restructuring its famous Panama Canal for increased maritime traffic.  Estimated as a $5.3 billion project along with a $1.8 billion subway project, Panama is seeing its economy skyrocket as it supports a 10.4 percent growth in Q2.  With duty free access to goods and services, many construction business look forward to increased business opportunity.
Read more.
Compiled by Brittany Garcia, Galaxy Kaji and Tanya Gonzalez, Global Initiatives Interns

For more information, contact Jasmin Sakai-Gonzalez, 213.580.7569.