UK-Colombia aim to forge post-Brexit partnership
An oil and gas deal between the UK and Colombia has been proposed as part of an initiative to strengthen economic ties between the two countries.
£1 billion export financeAdditionally, the UK has earmarked £1 billion in export finance to encourage investment in healthcare and energy projects in Colombia, and the two nations have agreed a landmark tax agreement to provide greater certainty for businesses and employees in both countries."Colombia is one of Britain's most important partners in Latin America, and this visit provides an opportunity to strengthen the ties that have existed between our countries for more than 200 years," said Mrs May. "As the UK prepares to leave the EU, I am determined that Britain should become the global champion of free trade, and that means boosting trade with fast-growing economies like Colombia. "A peaceful, prosperous Colombia is in both our interests, and I look forward to working with President Santos to forge an even stronger partnership in the years ahead."
Before the meeting, Mr Santos said that Colombia was making "substantial progress" in getting its stalled peace deal with FARC rebels back on track and hoped to have an agreement very soon.The hard-won peace deal between the two sides has been on hold since a referendum last month when voters narrowly rejected the agreement, many saying it was too lenient on the rebels.Mr Santos said, "We have been making substantial progress. In the very, very near future we will have this agreement and I have the power to implement the agreement."
Britain third largest foreign investorA Downing Street spokesman emphasised the importance of relations between the two countries, saying Britain had been the third largest foreign investor in Colombia over the past decade, with a trading relationship worth £1 billion last year.In a speech to MPs and peers at the start of a three-day state visit, Mr Santos said he was keen to "substantially increase our bilateral trade and investment" after the UK leaves the EU and when the peace deal with FARC is finally sealed."British investment in our country, already sizeable, will be able to grow with much more confidence and peace of mind in a country that has ceased to suffer the effects of an armed conflict," he said. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said, "Colombia is on the verge of a historic peace agreement and through our on going support for the country, the UK is well placed to take advantage of the opportunities that will follow."
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