Just over a year after the trade agreement between the United States and Colombia came into force its effect can already be felt, as exports of U.S. meat are increasing and demand is growing.

Dan Halstrom, senior vice president for marketing and communications at the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), explained that trade relations between the two countries were formerly impeded by a number of obstacles such as high duties. However, thanks to the agreement, the U.S. meat industry is taking advantage of opportunities created by Colombia's growing economy.

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U.S. meat exports are mostly focusing on Colombia's processing sector, although the country's retail sector is also becoming better supplied with U.S. pork, Halstrom added. These factors have helped Colombia turn into the biggest market for U.S. pork in the Central and South America region.

Official figures from the USDA and USMEF show that exports of pork to Colombia have soared 105 percent in the year to July, reaching 16,982 metric tons, while the total value increased by 87 percent to $43 million, compared to the previous 12-month period.

When it comes to U.S. beef, Colombia is still a relatively small market, despite the fact that beef exports have also been rising. Overall, the three biggest beef markets — Japan, Mexico and Canada — all reported growth, averaging at a 9 percent increase in value, figures reveal.