Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos and the prime minister of Japan agreed to expedite the process of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries.
Following a bilateral meeting in Bogota, President Santos and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed that speeding up the FTA process would allow better access to Colombian products for the Japanese people and better access to Japanese products for the Colombian people.
“We are in the process of negotiating a free trade agreement, and we gave instructions to our delegations to accelerate that negotiation,” said Santos in an official statement.
Santos also noted that Japan was the first Asian investor in Colombia and that the two nations are now exploring the possibilities of increasing investments on many fronts.
“We are economies that greatly compliment each other. Japan has a lot of what our country needs; we have much of what Japan needs, so there we see enormous potential,” said the Colombian head of state.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also praised Colombia’s commitment to peace talks with the country’s largest guerrilla group, the FARC.
However, there has been some friction between the Colombian government and the FARC over the dialogues as President Santos declared yesterday that recent alleged FARC attacks on infrastructure were acts of terror that could bring an end to the peace process.
The supreme commander of the FARC also had his own concerns that the government would “obscure evidence” against the rebel group to meet a political agenda.
In June of this year, Colombia’s Congress rejected a Free Trade Agreement with South Korea that was signed in 2012, following disappointing results of a similar deal with the US.
Following the FTA agreement between Colombia and the US in 2012, exports from Colombia actually dropped 15.5% in 2013 while imports from the US increased.