Colombia and Australia Monday signed a preliminary trade agreement with the objective of strengthening commercial relations and promoting investment. The two countries will begin negotiations for a free trade agreement next year.
Colombian Minster for Commerce, Industry and Tourism and his Australian counterpart Simon Crean signed the agreement, which declares their intent to seek an FTA and promote bilateral trade, at a World Trade Organization conference in Switzerland.
The agreement outlines the two nations’ commitment to bilateral cooperation in the sectors of agribusiness, services, infrastructure, information technology and telecommunications.
Plata said the Colombian government hopes to diversify its market and is seeking new destinations to export Colombian goods and services.
Between January and September of 2009, Colombia exported US$14.5 million worth of goods such as coffee, fungicides , flowers, cookies and clothing to Australia. Colombia imported US$44.5 million worth of Australian goods, primarily machinery and chemicals, according to Dinero.com.
In the first half of 2009 Colombia invested US$33.8 million in direct foreign investment in Australia. In the same time period Australia invested US$73 in direct foreign investment in Colombia.
The number of Australian tourists in Colombia also appears to be on the rise. 2,586 Australians visited Colombia in 2004 compared with 5,031 people in 2008.