Ambassador Juan Carlos Caiza Rosero of Colombia in Seoul said, “We have recently joined the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and part of the Pacific Alliance and we have 16 free trade agreements with 60 countries including the European Union and the United States.”
The reception was attended by many distinguished guests from Korea and the international community, the Seoul Diplomatic Corps in particular. Among them were Vice Minister Yoon Soon Gu of Foreign Affairs of Korea, National Assembly Leaden Oh Jae Sae and Lee Sang-don. From the media came many leaders who included Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post.
Speaking at a reception he hosted at the Lotte Hotel in Seoul on July 23, 2019, in celebration of the National Day of Colombia, he then stated, “We have a country that has the greatest protection for investors in Latin America and we are the fourth country with the greatest facility to do business in the region.”
Excerpts from the speech of Ambassador Carlos Caiza of Colombia:
It is an honor to have arrived in Korea as Ambassador of Colombia. I want to transmit 4 messages to all of you tonight: First, about Colombia today. Second, the plan of President Ivan Duque of Colombia, known as: Pact for Colombia. Third, the development of the cooperative relationship between Colombia and Korea. And, fourthly, a cultural message.
First: About Colombia today. My country today has a similar population to Korea with 48 million inhabitants. We have recently joined the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and part of the Pacific Alliance; It has 16 free trade agreements with 60 countries including the European Union and the United States; we have a country that has the greatest protection for investors in Latin America; and the fourth country with the greatest facility to do business in the region; favorable risk ratings; a strong middle class with increasing purchasing power; it is the third-largest recipient of Direct Foreign Investment in Latin America; Colombia is one of the 30 main recipients of Foreign Direct Investment worldwide.
Our forecast for GDP growth for 2019 is 3.6%, above the rate for Latin America and the Caribbean (2.2%). Foreign Direct Investment of all sectors doubled between 2010 and 2018. In the last five years, the total flow of foreign direct investment to Colombia amounted to USD $ 66,586 million. In 2018, investment flows from Colombia to the world have multiplied by approximately 15.7 times since 2000. Colombia is the great destination of biodiversity, ranks second in the world, and is among the 12 most megadiverse nations on the planet.
Second: Plan of the President of Colombia: Pact for Colombia. The current President Iván Duque is executing his government plan called a Pact for Colombia with which he seeks the increase in productivity, led by a deep digital transformation and a commitment to agribusiness that links small and medium producers; a regulatory and tax improvement that promotes entrepreneurship and business activity; greater efficiency of public spending; a modern social policy centered on the family, which connects the poor and vulnerable population to the markets; and the use of land potentials by connecting territories, governments and populations.
Third: Development of the cooperation relationship between Colombia and Korea. I want to leave a message about the relations between Colombia and South Korea. The Prime Minister of Korea and President Duque, on May 6 in Bogotá, agreed on the vision of future cooperation between both countries. First, it is necessary to highlight that both countries share a mutual past: the conflict. Our relations were forged in the alliance during the Korean War, in which, as part of the United Nations Command, the Colombian battalion was present in the peninsula: Of the 5,100 soldiers that were part of the Colombian Battalion, 213 died. from Colombia, we had a conflict and had to face a serious migration crisis, and in these difficult times, Korea has always supported our country, which we deeply appreciate.
Secondly, the vision of cooperation between the two countries is framed in the following points that converge in both countries: Continue to seek a high level of education among our countries, promote trade and foreign investment, optimize technological innovation in accordance with the concept of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and the development of Culture through the promotion of cinema, literature, fashion, gastronomy and music (such as Kpop and Reguetton
Fourth: Cultural Message. Finally, I want to leave a message of a cultural matter. The Embassy of Colombia launches in September the Korean Salsa Championship, which will have an introductory part especially for apprentices (and all diplomats and their families can participate) and, later, the finalists of the championship will be invited to the final to the capital of Salsa in Colombia, the city of Cali.
Finally, thank you all for your presence and enjoy this Colombian party.