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Montevideo, November 20th 2018 - 00:12 UTC

PM Li Keqiang in Bogotá: China and Colombia considering free trade accord

Friday, May 22nd 2015 - 08:52 UTC
Full article 11 comments
President Santos received PM Li at the Nariño Palace for a first round of talks and signed deals providing scholarships for 200 Colombians to study in China President Santos received PM Li at the Nariño Palace for a first round of talks and signed deals providing scholarships for 200 Colombians to study in China

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang vowed to deepen economic ties with Colombia after arriving to Bogotá on Thursday, as part of his four-nation South American tour aimed at boosting trade and investment. Li is the highest-ranking Chinese official to visit Colombia since the two nations established diplomatic ties 35 years ago and his visit was hailed as historic by President Juan Manuel Santos.

 In their first meeting late Thursday at the presidential palace, the two signed deals providing scholarships for 200 Colombians to study in China and mapping a development plan for the violent Colombian port city of Buenaventura where the US$17 billion in annual trade between the two countries is concentrated.

Li, speaking to reporters following the meeting, said the two also discussed the possibility of initiating talks aimed at signing a free trade agreement. He also pledged 8 million dollars in aid to help Colombia maintain the peace in war-torn rural areas if the negotiations with Marxist inspired rebels to end a half-century conflict succeed.

Colombia has one of the region's most dynamic economies, with growth that last year far outpaced that of three other countries — Brazil, Chile and Peru — being visited by Li on his regional tour.

But Colombia has lagged behind its neighbors in expanding trade with China. In an article published Thursday in the Bogota newspaper El Tiempo, Li said trade with Colombia is just 6% of the Asian giant's overall trade with Latin America.

Even so, China is Colombia's second-biggest trading partner, the buyer of 10% of the country's exports last year.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules
  • Skip

    After all Brasileiro's comments on BRICS brotherhood and unity, it seems Colombia will get a free trade agreement with China and Brazil won't.

    Brazil got Argentina and Venezuela.

    May 22nd, 2015 - 12:32 pm 0
  • Chicureo

    Skip

    I think it's a win-win for a Colombia-China FTA.

    The Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela agreements with China however are more like a bunch of losers with one big loan shark...

    May 22nd, 2015 - 04:25 pm 0
  • Tik Tok

    If Brazil gets a Free Trade Deal with China you can say goodbye to the Brazilian manufacturing sector.
    Brazil is resigned to being the ugly duckling that will never become the swan.

    May 22nd, 2015 - 09:40 pm 0
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