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NDTO News Article

North Dakota Companies Heading to Colombia

NDTO will lead a delegation of five North Dakota pulse and dry bean processors to Colombia April 6-10.  Companies will have tours and meetings with potential buyers in Bogota and Medellin.  This will be the fourth North Dakota trade mission to Colombia; NDTO led missions to the market in 2008, 2012 and 2013.

Pulse crops are a big market in Colombia, and Canada currently is the country’s main supplier.  Colombia imports an average of 67,000 metric tons (MT) of lentils, 34,000 MT of peas and 7,700 MT of chickpeas annually.  Canadian suppliers fill about 80-85% of each of these products for Colombia, with the other 15-20% coming from the United States.

While the United States and Canada both offer high quality pulse crops at competitive prices, the main reason the scale is currently tipped in Canada’s favor is the timing of free trade agreements (FTAs).  In 2011, Canada and Colombia entered into an FTA which eliminated tariffs for Canadian exporters selling product into Colombia.  In 2011, United States exporters held the pulse market in Colombia, but when the FTA went into effect, Colombian buyers switched to Canadian suppliers who could offer the product at a lower cost.

On May 15, 2012, the United States and Colombia signed the US-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (CTPA), which leveled the playing field for the US and our northern neighbors.  While there is an opportunity for North Dakota producers to take over Canadian market share, we now must remarket our products and reestablish progress that was lost within a year of the implementation of the free trade agreement with Canada.

NDTO and our North Dakota pulse companies are rising to this challenge and prepared to visit Bogota and Medellin to offer buyers the highest-quality pulse crops possible.  If you are a pulse producer or processor and are interested in learning more about this opportunity, contact Larry White at