During a visit to China, Colombian Commerce Minister Luis Guillermo Plata assured that the Colombian government will not start negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China, after rumours about a proposed trade treaty.
The reason he gave was that the two countries’ exports are competitive, not complementary, and the terms of a trade treaty would be unfavourable to Colombia. The South American country is anxious to protect in particular its textile, jewellry, shoe and toy industries. Furthermore, Colombia has a huge trade imbalance with China, making a trade agreement even more remote. In 2008, Colombia’s exports to China totalled just 443 million dollars whereas Chinese imports totalled 4,549 million.
Minister Plata did however say that Colombia is very interested in attracting Chinese investment for infrastructure.
With improved infrastructure, Colombia aspires to becoming a regional manufactures platform through its FTAs with more than ten countries including Canada, Europe and the U.S.
However, the FTA with the U.S. has not yet been signed owing to the long process of approval in the American Congress, where the accord has met with controversy. Colombia remains hopeful about the process and the U.S. Ambassador in Bogotá recently said the agreement is on its way to being approved.