Colombian President Ivan Duque will begin a three-day visit to China today at the invitation of Xi Jinping.
This visit marks Mr Duque’s first trip to China since he was elected president in 2018; boosting trade and investment between the two countries is a priority for the Colombian delegation.
Unlike many of its neighbours, Colombia’s economic ties with China remain limited. Anchored by a 2006 free trade deal, the United States is Colombia’s biggest trading partner, and China’s investments in Colombia totals just $32 million—dwarfed by the $1.5 billion that flows each year from the US.
Mr Duque’s drive to establish China as a destination for Colombian exports may be partly fuelled by a mega-port project on Colombia’s Pacific coast, which was given the go-ahead by congress last year. The $300 million Tribuga port is designed to open up the country’s coffee-growing region to global markets. The project is a key measure as Bogota seeks to diversify Colombia’s economy away from oil and coal, which account for almost 50% of the country’s exports.
However, although Colombian lawmakers support Duque’s economic direction, the country still has a deep pro-American stance—something the president will seek to balance in Beijing today.
John is a Senior Analyst with an interest in Indo-Pacific geopolitics. Master of International Relations (Australian National University) graduate with study focus on the Indo-Pacific. Qualified lawyer (University of Auckland, NZ) with experience in post-colonial Pacific & NZ legal systems.