The delegation will be visiting Colombia in order to strengthen political ties with the South American country. The trip comes in the wake of a number of important events concerning the EU and Colombia, including a free trade agreement (FTA) that took effect at the beginning of August and an impending deal eliminating the requirement for short-term visas for Colombians visiting EU countries.
“The visit of the [delegation] occurs in the context of the recently ratified trade agreement reached between Colombia and the EU and is happening only a few days after a Parliamentary vote exempting Colombians…from needing visas,” an EU press release announced.
The delegation will meet with members of Colombia’s government, with leaders of the Senate and the House, with international organizations, and with other private and public sector leaders.
The group, which is made up of parliament members who all have relations with the Andean Community – a customs union comprising Colombia, Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador – will be headed by Luis de Grandes Pascual, from Spain.
Today is the last day of an important business forum in Paris and Frankfurt organized by Proexport Colombia – the body that promotes the country’s industries abroad. The event has brought together 250 Colombian and European companies over the last few days to “provide Colombian entrepreneurs with the opportunity to leverage the free trade agreement… for agribusiness, apparel, and manufacturing products,” according to the event website.
The visit of the European delegation is a sign that Colombia is strengthening its economic links with the EU. In 2012, Colombia’s exports to the EU increased by 2.1% compared to the year before. The European Commission forecast at the time of the FTA agreement in August that Colombian imports to the EU will increase by nearly 10% in the next few years, adding 1.3% to the country’s GDP growth.