Set to complete his first year in office on August 7, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos takes a moment to discuss with AQ how the U.S. debt ceiling negotiations have adversely affected Latin America and why passage of the pending U.S.-Colombia free-trade agreement is “in the interest of the U.S.” An expanded version of this interview—addressing questions on security and Venezuela as well—will appear in the Fall 2011 issue of Americas Quarterly.
Americas Quarterly: What is your opinion about the free-trade agreement (FTA) with the U.S.?
Juan Manuel Santos: I hope the U.S. approves the FTA with Colombia. We want to maintain our very good relations with them and we are very happy that the U.S. is our biggest commercial partner and investment partner. But American products are being replaced in the Colombian market because other countries have free-trade agreements. If the FTA is not approved shortly, the U.S. will continue losing market share. So it is in the interest of the U.S., and of course in our interest, that the FTA should be approved as soon as possible.
AQ: What can you tell us about the economic subjects discussed at the UNASUR meeting in Lima, Peru, on July 28?