Colombia aims to be Latin America’s third largest economy after Brazil and Mexico in the next two years, said the country’s trade minister Monday.
At a press conference in Madrid, Sergio Diazgranados said, ”Today Colombia is the fourth largest economy in Latin America, it was the fifth four years ago. We are in process of transforming the country enough that we can say (…) we are the largest economy in Latin America after Brazil and Mexico.”
Today Colombia is the fourth largest economy in Latin America after Brazil, Mexico and Argentina. Sergio Diazgranados noted that, ”Our goal is to become 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, which created 1.5 million formal jobs.
Diazgranados said, ”We want to keep the economy growth above 5%. If we do that for twenty years, we will reach the economy size and the income level of Spain and we will bring to the world an important reduction in poverty.”
The government wanted to promote the Pacific Alliance — an agreement between Colombia, Mexico, Chile and Peru to strengthen their economies by working together — in Spain and the rest of the European Union, he said.
Diazgranados explained, ”We want to see this alliance as a platform to grow the relationship between Spain and the EU with the Pacific Basin,” noting that the combined GDP of these four countries was higher than that of Brazil.
”Spain is and can be one of the best partners of Colombia in this growth process. Spain has what Colombia needs, and Colombia has what Spain needs,” he said.
Regarding bilateral relations, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos wants to maintain the same level of confidence, integration and cooperation with the new Spanish government, which took office last December, as he had with its predecessor.
Colombia hopes to finalize a trade agreement with Venezuela next week and launch negotiations about free trade agreements with Costa Rica and Dominican Republic this year.
Diazgranados added that Colombia now had stronger protection than it had in 2008 and 2009 to deal with possible turbulence in Europe or in U.S., because it had more international reserves, better economic planning and higher export growth.