Last week, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) awarded two grants totaling $501,210 to Centro de Actividades Logísticas y de Transporte S.A. (CELTA S.A.) of Colombia to fund feasibility studies on an integrated agricultural products inspection, distribution and shipping link to Bogotá’s El Dorado International Airport. The grants reflect the U.S. Government’s overall commitment to support trade capacity building (TCB) as an integral part of the negotiations on the U.S.-Andean Free Trade Agreement. Further, the grants reaffirm USTDA’s commitment to support TCB projects that expand a country’s ability to engage in international commerce.
The grants were conferred in a signing ceremony held during the third annual Latin American Leadership Forum, which was held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Washington, D.C. Geoff Jackson, USTDA policy and program director, signed the grant agreements on behalf of the U.S. Government. Enrique Tafur, manager of CELTA S.A., signed on behalf of the grantee. Luis Alberto Moreno, Ambassador of Colombia to the United States, attended the signing ceremony.
Overall, the grants support the development of a seamless and secure trade corridor for perishable agricultural products, which includes cut flowers and plant material. The first feasibility study grant of $304,260 will analyze two components: an inspection and treatment facility and modernization of an airport access road. The objective is to enable Colombian farmers to comply with phytosanitary and security regulations necessary for the timely export of fresh produce and flowers, as well as to ensure the safe, secure and rapid transport of perishable cargo from CELTA S.A.’s industrial park to El Dorado International Airport.
The second feasibility study grant of $196,950 will assist in evaluating the development of a second air cargo terminal at the El Dorado International Airport. Currently, there is only one air cargo terminal facility at the airport, which is a major air cargo transport center in South America. The Government of Colombia (GOC) is in the process of preparing a concession for the privatization of airport management and services at El Dorado International Airport, and this grant will assist in assessing future development opportunities at the airport.
The U.S. Trade and Development Agency advances economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle-income countries. The agency funds various forms of technical assistance, feasibility studies, training, orientation visits and business workshops that support the development of a modern infrastructure and a fair and open trading environment. USTDA’s strategic use of foreign assistance funds to support sound investment policy and decision-making in host countries creates an enabling environment for trade, investment and sustainable economic development. In carrying out its mission, USTDA gives emphasis to economic sectors that may benefit from U.S. exports of goods and services.