Colombia aims to be Latin America's third largest economy after Brazil and Mexico by 2015, said the country's trade minister this week during a business conference in Madrid.
''Today Colombia is the fourth largest economy in Latin America; it was the fifth four years ago. We are in the process of transforming the country so that we can say (...) we are the largest economy in Latin America after Brazil and Mexico'', said Trade, Industry and Tourism minister Sergio Diazgranados.
Currently Colombia is the fourth largest economy in Latin America after Brazil, Mexico and Argentina. However, “our goal is to become the third biggest Latin American economy and to join the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).''
In the meeting with journalists, Diazgranados mentioned that the Colombian economy grew 7.7% in the third quarter of 2011, plus having created 1.5 million formal jobs.
The Colombian government expects 2011 total growth to reach 5.5% and hopes the same can be achieved in 2012 with inflation below 3.5% and an estimated growth in foreign investment of 10%.
Diazgranados added that the target is to keep the economy expanding at a floor of 5% so that in twenty years Colombia will have a GDP and income level similar to that of Spain and “we will bring to the world an important reduction in poverty.”
The minister added that Colombia is interested in promoting the Pacific Basin Alliance, which is an agreement between Colombia, Mexico, Chile and Peru to strengthen their economies. Diazgranados said that the combined GDP of these four countries was larger than that of Brazil.
Regionally Colombia hopes to conclude a trade agreement with Venezuela by the end of January and launch negotiations for free trade agreements with Costa Rica and Dominican Republic later in the year.
Colombia remains a member of CAN (Community of Andean Nations) which saw trade soar 40% in 2011. Diazgranados said that the free trade agreement with the US should become effective in the third quarter of the year and negotiations with the European Union should conclude next September.
According to the latest available stats from the IMF and the World Bank, Brazil’s GDP is 2.1 trillion dollars; Mexico, 1.04 trillion; Argentina 370bn; Venezuela, 293bn; Colombia, 290bn and Chile, 203bn.