WASHINGTON — Valentine’s Day is a good day to buy Colombian roses — and so is any day, according to Colombian President Iván Duque Marquez.
“Columbia is open for business,” he told the crowd at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Thursday. “We will fulfill that promise with the help of your investment in our country.”
Economic growth was central to Duque’s pitch for social and legal transformation in the country. He said he plans to lower taxes for businesses, narrow the gap between the rich and poor that has long plagued his country and focus on renewable energy, which he called the “fourth industrial revolution.”
“We want to be a country of startups,” the president said. “I believe that no country can succeed without the private sector, one that is socially conscious, with the most important social program being employment generation.”
Duque and other speakers at the event, like the president and CEO of the U.S Chamber of Commerce Thomas J. Donahue, touted bipartisan work that has created a strong relationship between the countries over the course of the last 20 years. In the past two decades, according to Duque, the country has moved from one “on the brink of becoming a failed state” to one that is politically stable and economically vibrant.
Next on his agenda is a slate of ambitious programs and initiatives, such as renovating six hundred thousand homes of the “poorest of the poor,” in Colombia, using private sector investment to improve infrastructure, investing in rural areas and aiming for a economic growth rate of 3.5 percent in 2019, up from 3.4 in 2018.
“We need to put Colombia on the path to become a high-income country in next two decades,” he said.