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Colombian president hails post-Brexit trade chances

Published 05/11/2016

Colombia's president Juan Manuel Santos talked about trade opportunities
Colombia's president Juan Manuel Santos talked about trade opportunities

Trade between the UK and Colombia could be even stronger after Brexit, the country's president has said.

Juan Manuel Santos suggested negotiating outside of the European Union may strengthen arrangements because striking a deal that was acceptable to all members of the bloc meant making compromises.

After meeting Theresa May for talks in No 10 earlier this week, the Colombian premier said the country, along with Chile, Peru and Mexico - the Pacific Alliance free trade bloc - represented ''a huge opportunity for British business'' and they " stand ready" to pursue new opportunities.

Quitting the bloc could lead to greater trade with the emerging markets, he told BBC One's The Andrew Marr Show.

He said: "Well, we have a free trade agreement with Europe and therefore at this moment with the UK. And what I said to Prime Minister May is, 'Listen, we are ready to simply have a free trade agreement with the UK and have the same conditions or even improved', because many times in free trade agreements with a group of countries some countries object to some issues and maybe we can even go further."

Asked if that meant trading arrangements could be better outside the EU, he said: "It could be, yes."

He added that no negotiations could take place until the UK had clarified its negotiating position regarding its eventual economic relationship to the European Union.

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