Columbia’s leader comes to UK courting trade

By Tohon Sehsa
Published: 2 November 2016

Colombian President, Juan Manuel Santos is on a three day visit to the UK where he hopes that he will be able to strengthen ties between the two countries and increase trade deals now that the UK has voted out of the European Union and will no longer have to follow EU trading restrictions.

His is the first state visit to Britain by a Colombian president, but it follows in the wake of the near collapse of a peace deal he had struck with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC) for which he had won a peace prize for striking.

With the threat of a collapse of that initiative then suddenly Columbia seems a less attractive place for British investors to risk their money so it is imperative the president can rescue the deal as soon as possible. The deal was rejected in his home country for seemingly being too forgiving of the rebels.

“We must build on existing foundations and identify new opportunities that will allow us to substantially increase our bilateral trade and investment,” Santos told legal representatives in a ceremony held in parliament’s Robing Room.

The UK is Columbia’s third largest investor but the economics remain small in comparison to other deals, having a bilateral worth of just one billion pounds a year whereas the UK’s trade with the Eurozone for the month of August alone stood at £30 billion.

Santos, who is due to hold a meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May today, said Britain and Colombia would remove one barrier to trade by signing a double-taxation agreement. He hopes that if he can assure investors of fair taxes then further cooperation will follow.