These commercial advantages were established in 2000 in an expansion of the so called Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI).
The extension of these benefits was included in the Farm Bill which was passed by the American Congress last June. The bill is a package of internal agricultural aid.
The meeting of the Presidents Santos and Varela made it clear that there will be no immediate solution to the problem of the tariffs Colombia is imposing on imports of footwear and textiles from the Colon Free Zone.
Companies operating in the Free Zone of Colon have seen their sales to Colombia decrease dramatically since the government of that country imposed a protective tariff on all imports of footwear and textiles from countries with which the country does not have a free trade agreement in place. The measure already has been implemented now for nearly two years, removing competitiveness of exports by traders from the CFZ.
Sardimar and Calvo Group are involved in a dispute over tariffs generated by the implementation of the multilateral treaty imposed by the US-Central America Treaty.
The Spanish-owned Calvo Group has a tuna processing plant in El Salvador from which it exports to Costa Rica - among other places - having paid the country a customs duty of 15% until January 2009, and afterwards taking advantage of CAFTA benefits by not paying the tariff for tuna in oil and paying 2.2% for tuna in water. This will obviously hurt the local sales of Costa Rican-owned Sardimar, which is protesting, stating that the situation violates the provisions of the General Treaty of Central American Integration since Calvo Group operates in a free trade zone in El Salvador and is exempt from most national and municipal taxes and Sardimar considers this a subsidy in disguise.