“I think this visit was very successful, exceeding our expectations. First, coming to China on a state visit, that in itself is a very important step … The most important Chinese leaders welcomed us, we were attended to very generously, and above all they showed a great knowledge of and great interest in Colombia,” he said.
The two nations finalized nine bilateral agreements on Tuesday designed to bolster Chinese ties to Colombia’s agriculture, technology and mining sectors. China’s President Hu Jintao signed an agreement Wednesday to start consultation on a potential Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Colombia.
Colombia’s head of state praised the Asian giant on a number of topics during his 30-minute speech.
“What China has achieved and what has been done in Shanghai in terms of progress, infrastructure and all its manufacturing sector and its development, is something that impresses everyone.”
The president also assured Chinese leaders that Colombia’s security situation has improved.
“We are not yet a paradise, but we have advanced far enough that safety is not our only priority,” Santos added.
He went on to outline that Colombia needs to become a strong presence on the international stage.
“What do we need? To gather all the ingredients at our disposal to repeat the miracle that [China] did here,” he said. “We need investment, we need to become increasingly competitive and adopt the culture of continuous innovation that is so common here in Shanghai.”
China is Colombia’s second-largest trading partner after the U.S. whose own FTA with the Andean nation is set to begin May 15.