Abu Dhabi, Nov 11 (EFE) .- The president of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, began a two-day trip to the United Arab Emirates today with a strong economic accent, focused on the search for investments and the expansion of the market for Colombian products.
Santos, to whom the UAE has promised a donation of 45 million dollars to finance projects aimed at improve the situation after the end of the Colombian conflict, met after landing in Abu Dhabi with Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, heir to the throne of Abu Dhabi.
Beyond visits ceremonies, such as the visit to the Great Zayed Mosque, which boasts the largest carpet in the world and its domes crowned with gold ornaments, the foreign ministers, Comercio, Hacienda and Minas, which accompany the Colombian president, highlighted the economic potential offered by the Emirates.
The Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, MarÃa Lorena GutiÃ©rrez insisted that "there are many opportunities to increase" the economic potential.
In this sense, he described as "very important" the two agreements closed with the Emirati authorities: one to avoid double taxation and the other to protect investments.
"I think there are few countries in Latin America, only two, that have this kind of relations with the Arab Emirates, "the minister said.
In addition to the arrival in the coming weeks of the first shipment of Colombian avocados to the federation of emirates, the minister He highlighted the "great prospects (offered by the Persian Gulf country) for beef and fruits."
In 2016, exports from Colombia to the Arab Emirates reached 33.3 millions of dollars, with coal, fruits, vegetables and flowers as the main products.
Regarding imports from the Emirates, they reached a figure of 12 million dollars, with plastics, metallurgy and industry as outstanding products.
Colombian Foreign Minister MarÃa Ãngela HolguÃn, meanwhile, also stressed the economic side of the Santos trip.
In this sense, he declared that the strengthening of trade, investment and tourism were "front line" issues.
The Government's objective is to "ensure that Emirati funds can arrive in the form of investment to Colombia. "" We want them to be in Colombia, so we have insisted that they go, it is important for Colombia ", "HolguÃn also spoke about the development of the desert region of La Guajira, in the northeast of the country, an issue on which she was convinced that" Emirates can help a lot ".
" We will see if we can achieve something, as you see, this (in reference to the Arab Emirates) is a desert, where there is absolutely nothing and everything has been produced and organized by them, which gives us some hope that we can work with them on the issue of La Guajira, "he said.
Regarding the improvement of tourism and the connection between both countries, said that it will continue to address the possibility of a direct flight from the Emirates company from Dubai to Bogota.
HolguÃn said that this air route "would really improve the connectivity "between both countries and highlighted that Emirates" wants the Dubai airline to arrive in Colombia.
"In that we continue working and we hope to work with aeronautics In order to be able to boost the tourism issue, "he stressed.
Santos, who is traveling to the Emirates for the first time, plans to hold a meeting today at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, where authorities and businessmen from both countries will be able to put common projects and initiatives on the table.
On the 45 million dollars emirati donation for post-conflict aid, HolguÃn indicated that these funds will be directed to "several post-conflict projects, many on the agricultural issue, that they want to support with great technological advances and innovation and that I believe that will be very positive for Colombia. "
" The generosity of the country is a product of the relationship that has been forged, so this visit was pending for quite some time time, "he added.
By Marta PÃ©rez Cruzado