Colombia Ports Clogged with US Corn as Duty-Free Quota Nears End

Colombian Corn Imports for 7 years
U.S. market share in Colombia is regaining its historical dominance.

This week’s U.S. Grains Council’s Chart of the week illustrates that U.S. market share in Colombia is regaining its historical dominance, which had eroded substantially since 2008. However, U.S. corn sales are rapidly approaching the end of the duty-free quota under the U.S.–Colombia Free Trade Agreement. According to Colombian customs, 86 percent of the first-come, first-serve quota of 2.3 million metric tons (90.5 million bushels) is already filled. It’s expected that the remainder of the quota will be filled by mid-June.

With the quota nearly exhausted, importers are rushing to get their shipment cleared before the quota expires. As a result, Colombia has been importing approximately 600,000 tons (23.6 million bushels) of U.S. corn per month. At double the normal import levels of 300,000 tons (11.8 million bushels) per month, problems with the volume of vessels and stressing storage capabilities have arisen.

All of this is good news for both U.S. corn producers and Colombian end-users who for several years pushed for the U.S.–Colombia Free Trade Agreement to be ratified by U.S. legislators. Now Colombian importers are reaping the benefit of competitively priced U.S. grain while U.S. market share continues to regain its dominance.