Colombia: 'Big potential' for trade with PH
MANILA, Philippines – Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said there is "big potential" for trade between the Philippines and his country, while the Latin American nation waits in the wings to join the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) community.
"Quite frankly, there is very little trade" between the two countries, Santos said in a press conference at the Diamond Hotel in Manila on Tuesday, November 17.
Santos said that during his bilateral talks with Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, they decided to get their respective trade ministers in touch to see how the two nations can increase their trade relations.
"We produce some of the products that we can compete in," he told journalists.
As of 2013, the Philippines' total exports to Colombia totaled $21.6 million, while Colombia's exports to the Philippines was at $10.7 million – a small chunk of both nations' trade.
During their bilateral meeting in Malacañang Palace on Tuesday, Aquino and Santos also talked about their countries' problems on communist insurgency and drug trade.
APEC and Colombia
The Colombian president is in town as an observer in the APEC summit. He was invited by Aquino, and he's the only head of state of a non-APEC country in this year's meeting.
The South American country has been waiting to join APEC for 25 years now. "To be a member of this exclusive club will allow us to enhance our relationship with all members of APEC," he said.
APEC currently has a moratorium in accepting new members, first instituted in 1997 and extended in 2010.
Santos was also at the APEC CEO Summit at the Makati Shangri-La, where he participated at the Innovation and Entrepreneurship session alongside former Chinese Taipei Vice President Vincent Siew.
On Wednesday, November 18, Santos attended the informal meeting of the Pacific Alliance member-countries at the Philippine International Convention Center.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is also in the country's sights, having expressed interest in joining back in 2010.
Santos said the country is "very friendly" to foreign investors, and touted Colombia's "very attractive rules and environment" for foreign investment.
"We hope that next year, we can identify foreign investors, especially from the Philippines," he said. – Rappler.com
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