MEXICO CITY – Colombia is seeking to attract more foreign investment from Mexico after signing a peace agreement last year with leftist rebels, whose entry into civilian life has opened up business opportunities in formerly conflict-plagued regions.
“There’s not only a social impact in regions that had been involved in the conflict but also a dynamic of economic integration and investment generation,” the vice president for investment at the Andean nation’s ProColombia trade, investment and tourism promotion agency, Ancizar Guerrero, told EFE on Thursday.
During a visit to Mexico this week that will include stops in Mexico City and the northern industrial hub of Monterrey to meet with representatives of scores of companies and promote opportunities in the South American nation, Guerrero said opportunities had arisen in manufacturing, tourism and agriculture in areas once affected by the armed conflict pitting government forces against Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels.
The relationship between Colombia and Mexico has strengthened in recent years, especially since a 2011 protocol that deepened bilateral trade and the establishment in 2012 of the Pacific Alliance, a trade bloc that links those two nations as well as Peru and Chile.
Between 2012 and 2016, Mexican investment in Colombia came from a wide range of sectors and exceeded $2.6 billion, a four-fold increase over the previous four-year period.
In terms of trade, Colombian exports to Mexico totaled $937 million, while Mexican exports to the South American country amounted to $3.4 billion, according to official figures.
Gains also are being seen in the tourism sector, Colombia’s second-largest source of hard currency.
In 2016, a total of 159,000 people visited Colombia from Mexico, an 8 percent increase over the previous year.
ProColombia, meanwhile, is carrying out major promotional efforts to boost those numbers further, emphasizing the country’s historical, cultural and natural riches.
Mexico, for its part, is particularly eager to diversify its trade relations now that it has entered into North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiation talks with the United States and Canada.
The Mexican government is acutely aware that changes to NAFTA could complicate its trade relationship with the US, which is by far its biggest trading partner.