This afternoon, President Obama met with President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia in the Oval Office at the White House.
In remarks following the meeting, President Obama discussed the U.S. interests in progress in Colombia and Latin America:
The United States has an enormous interest in the development of Latin America and an enormous interest in progress in Colombia. We have been a partner there as Colombia dealt with some very difficult times and has now blossomed into a strong democracy that is respectful of human rights and is moving forward vigorously to provide economic opportunity for all of its people.
President Santos I think is at the forefront of a progressive and thoughtful agenda within Colombia. He’s obviously initiating a whole range of reforms. Colombia is also a leader when it comes to security in the region, and we are glad that we’ve been able to partner with Colombia not only to deal with security situations inside Colombia, but now increasingly Colombia can be a role model for the rest of the region.
The two heads of state discussed the important economic ties between our two countries, and highlighted the mutual benefits of the recently announced trade agreement between the United States and Colombia.
Obviously, the United States represents an important market for Colombian businesses, and so this is going to be a win for Colombia. It’s also a win for the United States. This represents a potential $1 billion of exports and it could mean thousands of jobs for workers here in the United States. And so I believe that we can structure a trade agreement that is a win-win for both our countries, and I’m looking forward to working with President Santos to ensure that both countries benefit. And this will help me meet my goal of making sure the United States has doubled exports over the coming years and that we’re as competitive as we can be in a global marketplace in the 21st century.
To find out more about this trade agreement, which has been endorsed by numerous industry and trade councils for its positive effects on the American economy, see the fact sheets released earlier this week.