Colombia’s Finance Minister said the “future is about being competitive,” indicating domestic producers and exporters should accept the pain of a strong peso, reported Reuters.
At a meeting of the Inter-American Development Bank, Juan Carlos Echeverry, said “The message we send to our producers is you are in the world, not just Colombia. The future is about being competitive and this is as painful as giving birth.”
Colombian exporters and producers requested Friday that the government take measures to curb the strength of the peso against the dollar, which strengthened 10% this year according to Bloomberg.
The strong currency makes Colombian products expensive for foreign buyers and causes imported goods to undercut goods produced locally.
The country is aggressively pursuing a policy of securing free trade agreements with countries from Turkey to Australia, and its Constitutional Court has just approved free trade agreements with China, India, and the United Kingdom.
The Finance Minister also said it is important for a country to save while the going is good.
“You grow when you save […] The Asian countries keep on growing because they have savings rates of 30% or 40% and investment rates of 40% to 45%. It’s not like this if you just consume and don’t save.”