By: Aryeh Savir
Israel and Colombia launched their Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and Colombia will open a trade office in Jerusalem, the latest development in the budding ties between the two countries.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Colombian President Ivan Duque held a joint videoconference on Monday during which they launched the FTA between the two countries.
Netanyahu and Duque declared the end of the ratification process for the FTA between Israel and Colombia, which is the third-largest economy in Latin America. This is Colombia’s first FTA with any country in the Middle East
Signing the agreement will create opportunities for the Israeli economy in various fields including agriculture, technology and medicine, and allows 97% of Colombian products to be free of tariffs and for Colombian investors to see business opportunities in Israel
“This is a historic moment in the relationship between the State of Israel and the Republic of Colombia because we celebrate two important events today. The first is the final ratification of the agreement on a free trade zone between, a free trade agreement between our two countries, and in addition, the Colombian announcement that you’ve just made, to open an innovation representative office in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel,” Netanyahu stated.
“These decisions create a platform of cooperation between us that will bring our partnership, our friendship, our brotherhood—as you said—to new political and economic levels,” he added.
Duque emphasized that he would open an innovation office in Jerusalem, close to the Israel Innovation Authority, a Colombian diplomatic presence in Israel’s capital.
Brazil and Honduras have trade offices in Jerusalem. Guatemala opened an embassy in the city a day after the US.
Duque stressed that Colombia “aspires to develop innovation at home inspired by the Israeli experience.”
Israel in recent years has invested heavily in its diplomatic relations with Latin American countries, leading to a change in the continent’s foreign policies which have been traditionally pro-Arab.
In the past decade, Israel has signed or upgraded seven free trade agreements with countries such as South Korea, Ukraine, Colombia and Canada. This doubles the seven agreements that were in force in 2009.