The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism signed the decree that establishes a permanent tariff of 40 percent on imported clothing, the consolidated maximum allowed by the World Trade Organization (WTO). This measure had been established in April 2021, but it was valid for two years.
This tariff is established because the Government considers it necessary to «promote a balance in international trade, a greater generation of added value, competitiveness and employmentespecially women’s and in the productivity of the national clothing industry».
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Before, an ad valorem tariff of 40 percent was in force on imports of clothing (chapters 61 and 62 of the National Customs Tariff) that entered for a value less than or equal to ten dollars per kilo. And one of 15 percent plus 1.5 dollars per kilo, when the price is higher than ten dollars.
With the new decree, a 40 percent tariff ad valorem to imports of any most favored nation origin, without any conditions. This tax is applied to garments from countries with which Colombia does not have current trade agreements.
The garments that will be covered are, among others, suits, overalls, coats, jackets, pants, dresses, skirts, culottes, baby clothes and shirts, whose material is wool, cotton or synthetic fibers.
«This tariff on imports of garments will allow skyrocket the clothing industry of colombia. Even better if we stop the great smuggling, which is the other side of the coin of the export of illegal cocaine,» President Gustavo Petro said last November, when the decree came up for consultation.
According to the president of the Colombian Chamber of Clothing and Related Products, Camilo Rodríguez, this tariff will boost job creation in the country, especially for women. It would be 250,000 additional jobs in the first year of validity and one million in the next four years.
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On the contrary, the president of Analdex, Javier Díaz, assured that this initiative will further increase smuggling in the country because it allows merchandise to enter Colombia at lower prices; therefore, this would be the main competition of the national clothing industry.
Between January and August 2022 Colombian clothing imports totaled US$ 444 millionwhile in the eighth month of the year fashion spending reached $19.5 billion, that is, 9 percent more than the same period in 2021, according to the Colombian Chamber of Clothing and Related Products.
The 40 percent tariff will not apply to those imports from Goods that were actually shipped to Colombia prior to the effective date of the decree, that is, around mid-January 2023.