The Look Ahead: US-Colombia trade gets a boost, G8 leaders meet outside Washington

The US-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement – expected to provide American businesses, farmers and ranchers with improved access to the third largest economy in South America – goes into effect on Tuesday.

More than 80% of US exports of consumer and industrial products to Colombia will become duty-free, including agricultural and construction equipment, building products, aircraft and parts, fertilisers, information technology equipment, medical scientific equipment and wood. Also, more than half of US exports of agricultural commodities to Colombia will become duty-free, including wheat, barley, soybeans, high-quality beef, bacon and almost all fruit and vegetable products.

The agreement also is expected to provide new access to Colombia’s $180 billion services market, supporting increased opportunities for US service providers. Colombia agreed to eliminate measures that prevented firms from hiring US professionals, and to phase out market restrictions in cable television.

The US International Trade Commission estimates the agreement will increase US GDP by $2.5 billion.

Last year, the US exported $14.3 billion in goods to Colombia. Colombia is a large importer of grains from the United States, while it exports a number of tropical fruits to the US. American cotton, yarn and fabric exports to Colombia are used in many apparel items that Colombia exports to the United States.

G8 meets at Camp David

The Group of Eight will meet at Camp David, the US presidential retreat near Washington, on May 18th and May 19th to address a range of economic, political and security issues.

Participants, which include advanced economies in Europe, North America and Asia and invited guests, are expected to talk about issues they do not agree on such as food security, anti-corruption, economic efforts and emissions reductions.

This year’s G8 summit was originally planned for Chicago, but a few months ago President Barack Obama moved the major world summit to Camp David, a more remote setting that lends itself less to clamourous protests than a large city.

UK labour figures

The April labour market report, set for release on May 16th, will be another clue as to how strong – or weak – the British economy is.

The UK labour market was stronger than expected in March, but the April report follows on the heels of GDP statistics that showed the economy shrank by 0.2% in the first quarter, returning the UK to recession.

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research predicted that the UK economy will remain weak throughout the year, the BBC reported. As a result, the NIESR expected unemployment to rise from its current 8.3% to nearly 9% by the end of the year.

Euro-zone GDP

Economists and investors will get more clarity about the euro zone’s economic state of affairs Tuesday, when EuroStat releases first-quarter GDP statistics.

The 0.3% decline in GDP in the fourth quarter was the first drop in the euro zone’s total output since the second quarter of 2009.

The 17-member euro zone is widely expected to suffer a mild recession this year as the region’s debt crisis and planned austerity reforms take their toll, CNNMoney reported. But the downturn in the fourth quarter was slightly better than the 0.4% decline many economists had forecast, raising hopes that the euro zone will avoid a deep recession.

IFRS Interpretations Committee

The IFRS Interpretations Committee will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday in London; a webcast of the meeting will be available on the IFRS website.

The Interpretations Committee reviews widespread accounting issues that arise within the context of IFRS. It attempts to reach consensus on appropriate accounting treatment and provide authoritative guidance on newly identified financial reporting issues and issues where unsatisfactory or conflicting interpretations have developed or seem likely.

Topics on a lengthy agenda this week for the committee include accounting for different aspects of restructuring Greek government bonds; recognition of deferred income tax for a single asset in a corporate entity; and purchase of right to use land.

Going-concern evaluations

US auditors’ going-concern evaluations and the auditor’s reporting model project will be among the topics discussed May 17th at a meeting of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s Standing Advisory Group (SAG).

Established in 2003 to advise the PCAOB on the development of standards, the SAG includes auditors, investors, public company executives and others. The group will be updated on recent PCAOB developments and the board’s agenda for standard setting.

Topics will include:

  • Possible revisions to the US auditing standard regarding the auditor’s evaluation of whether there is substantial doubt about a company’s ability to continue as a going concern.

  • The PCAOB’s proposal to improve the auditor’s evaluation of a company’s identification of, accounting for, and disclosure about its relationships and transactions with related parties.

  • The status of the board’s project regarding changes to the auditor’s reporting model and related international developments.

The meeting will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Washington and is open to the public. A webcast will be available at the PCAOB’s website.

—From CGMA Magazine staff reports.