First State Visit To Colombia Since Opening Of New Irish Embassy

The Minister of State for Trade has concluded a four-day visit to Colombia, the first since the Irish Embassy opened in Bogotá last month.

The delegation has been "hugely significant" in terms of developing Ireland's bilateral trade links with Colombia, according to Pat Breen TD who led the first ever St. Patrick's Day parade on the city's renowned cycleway. 

The Irish community, as well as diplomats, friends of the Irish and international communities, musicians, and Colombian officials, participated in the parade.

Minister Breen had a high level meeting with the Colombian Government, led by Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo, accompanied by four other Ministers and national investment agencies. Opportunities for exchange in the areas of innovation, science and technology were discussed. The South American country is believed to be very interested in hosting a trade mission to explore further opportunities for trade with Ireland. The Minister also met with his counterparts in the Ministry of Finance to discuss the start of negotiations on a double taxation agreement with Colombia.  

Following the high level meeting, Minister Breen signed a Memorandum of Understanding- an agreement between Teagasc and their equivalent institute in Colombia, Agrosavia. This agreement should lead to cooperation in the areas of agri-tech, agroforestry and food safety.

Commenting on his visit, Minister Breen said: "Ireland-Colombia relations are at an all-time high. Marking the opening of Ireland's new embassy in Bogotá, my meeting with five Colombian Government Ministers covered a wide range of topics- Ireland's support of the peace process, the opportunities for knowledge and research exchange in science and technology, and the potential for expansion of trade between our two countries. On Sunday over 300 people joined us in the first ever St Patrick's Day parade. This partnership is likely to grow from strength to strength in the years ahead with significant market potential for Irish companies. A well worthwhile visit at an important juncture."

Minister Breen also travelled to Colombia's second largest city, Medellín, where he met with senior level Colombian and Irish business interests. Enterprise Ireland clients SEPAM/CleanTech, Mainstream Renewable Technologies, and Santos Dupont were present, as well as Ireland's Viva Air and Smurfit Kappa.  Senior Colombian business figures interested in exploring opportunities for business with Ireland were also present.

The Minister will conclude his visit by giving a keynote address in the EAFIT university in Medellín, titled 'Ireland and Colombia forging a stronger relationship in a new post-Brexit era'.


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