Colombia’s congress has approved an agreement signed with Japan in 2011 that seeks to liberalize, promote, and protect foreign investment between the two countries, the Ministry of Trade announced Tuesday.
The agreement would attract Japanese business to Colombia, and provide Colombian entrepreneurs with a framework to learn and benefit from the Japanese market, according to the ministry.
“The approval of this agreement is positive news because it will encourage Japanese investment in Colombia. They will come to establish businesses here, bring jobs, bring technology, and also to allow Colombians to get to know Japan’s economic and production system. This agreement will encourage these investments, and most importantly, it will promote employment in the country,”said Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Santiago Rojas Arroyo.
Signed in Tokyo in September 2011, the bill will now go before the Constitutional Court for review.
According to figures from Colombia’s Bank of the Republic, Japan was the third largest destination of investment in Asia for Colombia during the period 2004-2013, reported the ministry.
Business opportunities for Colombian investors have been identified in sectors such as oil and grease, tuna, poultry, cacao, aquarium fish, crayons, crafts, auto parts, organic chemicals, jewelry, footwear, and leather.
Last year Colombia signed a similar agreement with Singapore.
The agreement with Japan is not directly related to broader free trade negotiations that have been held between the two countries. The purpose is to give guarantees and legal security to Japanese investors who want to settle in Colombia, according to the ministry, not to reduce or remove tariffs on goods.
Free trade has been a source of some controversy in Colombia, with industrialists allying with small agro interests to oppose a pending free trade agreement with South Korea, whose heavy industry is similar to Japan’s. The agreement, signed by both governments, has since stalled in Congress.
Congreso aprobó acuerdo de inversión entre Colombia y Japón (Ministry of Trade)