Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is seeking to boost business ties with Colombia during an official state visit beginning Thursday.
The Spanish leader is travelling Latin America for the first time, accompanied by a delegation of business leaders, in a trip aimed at boosting Spanish investment in the region, local media reports.
The trip comes as Spain’s economy continues to suffer. It has a 23% unemployement rate and the country’s central bank warned Tuesday it is in a recession.
Rajoy is also expected to meet with Colombia’s trade minister Sergio Diaz Granados in Bogota, according to reports.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos last year sought Spanish investment in his ambitious infrastructure plans.
“Colombia needs Spanish technology, its investment and important works, and you require, with the difficulties that Spain and Europe are suffering, business opportunities,” Santos said at the time, in reference to the continent’s economic crisis.
In addition to the economic agenda, the Spanish Prime Minister is expected to seek Colombia’s support in a dispute with Argentina over that country’s take over of a gas company previously owned by Spain’s oil and gas giant Repsol YPF.