A Colombian economist and diplomat has said Colombia and China are soon expected to start negotiations on a free trade agreement, Xinhua News Agency reported Friday.
Enrique Posada, director of the Asia-Pacific Virtual Observatory think tank, said the two nations have taken significant steps toward strengthening their bilateral trade and that “the intense dynamics” between the two countries have paved the way for trade talks to begin any time now.
According to Posada, Latin American trade with China currently totals nearly $100 billion, but Colombia still holds a major deficit in its trade balance with Asian giant and needs to improve its export basket to meet the demand of Chinese consumers.
One strategy is the creation of a free trade agreement between Colombia and China, which would help Colombian business and trade sectors do more research on what products are required by the emerging Chinese middle class, he said.
He added that Colombia could learn from Chile, Costa Rica and Peru on how to establish free trade deals with China and use that knowledge to increase the competitiveness of its products.
Posada went on to say that bilateral relations between China and Colombia have grown a lot stronger in recent years, and with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos already eyeing China as a key partner, ties could only improve.
The former diplomat spent 17 years in China, working as a senior diplomat at the Colombian Embassy.