“When one takes stock of winners and losers, the winners are in spades,” Santos said in an interview with Radio Caracol.
“Economists say economic growth will increase from between 0.5% to 1% and [the FTA will create] 100,000 good quality jobs per year. And that’s the results that interests me most,” he added.
Santos described the deal as a boost for Colombia’s producers and said the country will benefit from better access to “the world’s largest market.”
“Particularly for small and medium industries and for those who have never exported, now you can do so,” he said.
He urged businesses to diversify their products and makes any necessary changes in order to stay competitive against U.S. products.
Colombia will continue to seek other markets abroad, he continued, but he said other FTA’s, such as one proposed with China, are years away from being settled.
“That is a possibility we’re just beginning to study,” he said.
The interview came as the minister of agriculture spoke in the House of Representatives today to praise the deal, and defend it against criticisms.
An Oxfam report publicized Monday said the deal could bankrupt small farmers and would lead to a 16% reduction in income for Colombia’s 1.8 million farmers.
The FTA has also been criticized by human rights groups, who argue Colombia has not made enough progress in defending the rights of workers and unionists, who remain targets for violence, forced disappearances and murder.