Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos is in Paris this week before heading to the World Economic Forum and at the top of his agenda is expanding trade and investment ties with France and the European Union as a whole. Today, prior to meeting with President Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday, Santos met with French business leaders to discuss commerce opportunities. The Colombian president called attention to Colombia’s economic growth and the importance of expanded trade opportunities: “For us, Europe is still fundamental. We have negotiated a free trade agreement with Europe, and I take this opportunity to ask everyone to help us so that this treaty will get adopted as soon as possible by the European Parliament and the parliaments of each country.”
He later had lunch with French Senate President Gerarch Larcher and spoke about plans to “further expand [bilateral] cooperation.” Santos is also scheduled to visit a ship-building yard in Saint-Nazaire.
In comments that will likely be echoed during a speech later this week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the Colombian president noted to French business leaders that “ten years ago Colombia was a country that many catalogued as a failed state” but “the country has changed 180 degrees.”