Italy's political and economic ties with Colombia have intensified in recent years and the value of annual bilateral trade has topped one billion euros, foreign minister Angelino Alfano said on Tuesday during a visit.
"Relations between Italy and Colombia have seen a clear leap in quality in recent years. The meetings at the political level have intensified and, on the economic and trade level, the exchange has exceeded one billion euros, with a significant increase compared to 2016," Alfano said.
Italian companies are increasingly attracted to Colombia and groups such as ENEL, Salini, Ferrero and ANAS are well-established in the country, Alfano said.
"In this context, it is a matter of pride for us to stand shoulder to shoulder with our Colombian friends who are the process of peacebuilding and who are still struggling with complex challenges," Alfano said, referring to Colombia's 50-year civil war ended in 2016.
On Alfano' agenda during his visit were talks with the Italian Chamber of Commerce for Colombia, with Colombia's foreign minister and with the country's energy minister - with whom Alfano was due to ink an agreement to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the sector, the foreign ministry said.
Alfano was also due to meet with Colombia's post-conflict minister and the country's president, the ministry stated.
Italy's support for the post-conflict phase in Colombia, commercial ties - especially in the infrastructure, energy and agriculture sectors - and the crisis in neighbouring Venezuela are expected to top the agenda, according to the foreign ministry
Alfano is visiting Colombia and Brazil from Tuesday to Saturday