Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos reiterated that trade with neighboring Venezuela in the short term will not return to high levels it stood at before diplomatic relations were broken off, Colombia media reported Thursday.
Speaking at the National Association of Foreign Trade (Analdex) Congress in Bogota, the head of state said trade with the neighboring country has to be seen as an occasional profit.
Santos also said he would work to ensure “every last cent” owed by Venezuelans to Colombian exporters is repaid and added that negotiations regarding the bilateral agreement with the neighboring nation are going slowing for many reason, among them the poor health of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
The president encouraged Colombian exporters to seek and conquer markets in other countries “market by market, business by business,” with the most urgent goal being to increase the share of Colombian exports in Canada, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, which together import $1 billion of Colombian goods.
The president of Analdex, Javier Diaz, said that Colombia could triple the volume of non-traditional exports within the next nine years.
President Santos pointed out that the government set itself the challenge of exporting $52 billion by 2014, a target that could be reached by the end of this year and added that negotiations regarding the free trade agreements with Turkey and Panama are going well.