Expo 2020 Dubai: Colombia looks to enhance trade ties with the UAE, says President Duque – Khaleej Times

Sunday, Nov 07, 2021 | Rabi Al-Aakhir 02, 1443
Published: Sat 6 Nov 2021, 1:55 PM
Last updated: Sat 6 Nov 2021, 7:45 PM
Expo 2020 Dubai is a milestone event that will help Colombia’s economic rebirth and growth, the President of the Republic of Colombia said.
President Iván Duque Márquez visited the world fair on Friday as his country celebrated its National Day. The festivities featured a vivid cultural performance and an audio-visual takeover at Al Wasl Plaza’s dome, showcasing the country’s rich biodiversity.
President Duque said: “The most important aspect about our visit to Dubai is that Colombia feels proud about this Expo. Colombia was one of the first countries to support the Expo in Dubai, and we see this as a milestone event which will help with our country’s economic rebirth and growth.”
He added that Colombia wants to expand trade relations and see more of its citizens working with other entrepreneurs from around the world.
“We also want to see more people getting to know more about our country, which is not only a welcoming country, but a country that has prioritised clean energy, and new technologies with the idea of achieving higher growth and better social interaction,” he said.
The National Day celebrations began with a flag raising ceremony in the afternoon at Al Wasl Plaza. President Duque and a high-level Colombian delegation were welcomed by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence and Commissioner-General of Expo 2020 Dubai.
“The UAE prides itself on being a regional champion of innovation and, given that Colombia is an innovation hub in Latin America with a novel approach to development based on a creative economy, we look forward to working closely with Colombia in various fields of common interest, such as trade, tourism, development, and the support of small and medium-sized enterprises,” Sheikh Nahyan said.
The trade between UAE and Colombia has grown by 21 per cent over the last four years, he noted.
“(We) are confident that, through Colombia’s presence at Expo 2020 and beyond, our relationship will continue to flourish,” he said.
President Duque said he was excited to be signing a memorandum of understanding that would enhance trade relations between the two nations by bringing in more investors from the UAE to Colombia to identify new sectors.
“I am very optimistic that, throughout the cycle of this Expo, we will see opportunities to duplicate the trade we have built between the UAE and Colombia, and to take our relations to a new level,” he said.
Cultural activities followed the speeches, the highlight of which was Ensálsate, the famous Colombian salsa and music show that has toured the world.
With 14 artists on stage and more than 100 costume changes, the performance featured cha cha cha, pachanga, boogaloo, mambo and other dance moves, in addition to salsa.
Colombian cyclist Egan Bernal, winner of the 2019 Tour de France and the 2021 Giro d’Italia, also visited the Colombia pavilion and praised his country’s warmth and friendliness. He invited the rest of the world to visit his homeland.
“I’m really proud to be here and to have our pavilion in this big Expo,” he said.
In the evening, Expo 2020 visitors gathered in Al Wasl Plaza for a spectacular audio-visual experience ‘Colombia, Country of Birds’, which conveyed the country’s biodiversity, songs and cultural richness, with animation and video accompanied by Amazonian shamanic chants.
Celebrations then shifted to the Colombia pavilion, where singer Yeison Landeros performed his interpretation of traditional Colombian music, mixing conventional vallenato and cumbia sounds with contemporary elements.
On November 8, Colombia will host an all-day Business Matchmaking Forum at Dubai Exhibition Centre, Expo 2020 Dubai, an initiative of ProColombia and part of a national strategy to take advantage of Free Trade Agreements, diversify markets and promote the exportable offer of Colombian companies.
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