Colombian Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister Maria Lorena Gutierrez said Friday that the relations between Bogota and Ankara are set to develop further.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), she said, "Turkey supported our membership process at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). I want to thank Turkey for that. After all this process, it is obvious that as members of OECD, our relations will undoubtedly enhance further." OECD countries agreed on May 25 to invite Colombia as the 37th member of the organization. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria signed an accession agreement in Paris Wednesday.
According to the Turkish Foreign Ministry's website, a free trade agreement (FTA) is currently being negotiated between the two countries.
Elaborating on the agreement, whose negotiations started in 2011, Gutierrez noted that Turkey was really important for Colombia in terms of exports and imports.
The minister also said that one of the key aims of her visit would be negotiations ahead of the planned FTA. She added that they want to make progress on the negotiations by providing confidence for the investors of the two countries.
"This process will not be left undone and it is really important to reach an agreement that will bring us closer," Gutierrez said.
"Turkey is one of the leading countries in airport construction. We are working on more than 50 airports in Colombia. I think this is an area where Turkey can invest," she said.
The minister also said that other issues will include investments in infrastructure, highway projects and innovation.
Gutierrez will meet Turkish film production houses to inform them about a Film Fund that was established in Colombia for foreign filmmakers.
She will also meet Turkish Airlines (THY) officials.
"We want Turkish Airlines to operate daily flights between Istanbul and Bogota," she said. In 2016, Turkey's national air carrier launched direct flights to Bogota and Panama three times a week
Turkey established an embassy in Bogota in 2010 and Colombia opened its embassy in Ankara in 2011.
The trade volume between the two countries, which stood at $350 million in 2010, reached $1.8 billion in 2017, according to official data.
While around 13,000 Colombians visited Turkey in 2012, the figure reached 30,000 last year thanks to the THY flights.
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