ABU DHABI – Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos started a two-day state visit to the United Arab Emirates this Saturday with an ambitious economic agenda.
In this country replete with golf courses, Santos has come looking for investments and a larger market for Colombian products.
Once he arrived in the Emirates, Santos met with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
The delegation accompanying Santos on his visit highlighted the economic potential of the Emirates, which vowed a donation of $45 million to improve the situation in Colombia after the conflict has come to an end.
Colombian Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Maria Lorena Gutierrez said there were “plenty of opportunities” to improve bilateral economic ties.
She regarded as “very important” the two sealed agreements with UAE authorities: one related to a tax treaty while the other targets investment protection.
In 2016, Colombian exports to the Emirates reached $33 million, and were mainly made up of coal, fruits, vegetables and flowers.
The Emirates’ exports to Colombia, meanwhile, reached $12 million and were chiefly plastics and metals.
Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin said that strengthening economic relations between the two countries is at the top of Santos’ agenda.
She also noted the importance of the Emirates’ investments in Colombia, including the development of the northeastern desert area of La Guajira.