Colombia and Japan—Back to the private sector


H.E. Mr. Roberto Vélez Vallejo
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Colombia to Japan
On September 15 2015, my term as Ambassador of Colombia to Japan came to an end. This, my third time in Japan, has been a unique opportunity to represent my country, allowing me to testify to the fact that the ties between both countries are now at their peak, politically and economically.

Taking valuable lessons from Japan, I go back to Colombia with a special sense of accomplishment after having made significant advances towards the goal I set for myself when I accepted the appointment in June 2014: to make a contribution to strengthen the economic relations between both countries.

On September 12 2015, the reciprocal agreement for the liberalization, promotion and protection of investment (APRI) was created, and we are now in the 13th round of negotiations for the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). By forging more dynamic commercial ties and creating a positive framework for business and investment, I expect the EPA to play a major role in the commercial relations between Colombia and Japan. It was my hope that the agreement would be completed during my ambassadorship, but I feel confident to hand to my successor, a process that is very near completion. I trust that Colombia’s government will entrust the continuity of the efforts I began to a highly qualified and capable person.

Having been appointed as CEO of the Colombian National Federation of Coffee Growers (FNC), the biggest union of agricultural producers in Colombia, my responsibilities have suddenly shifted, however, my wish to serve the Colombian people remains. Through coffee trade and taking with me the Japanese spirit of innovation when it comes to devising new ways of drinking coffee, I hope to contribute to the relations between Colombia and Japan. Hopefully the wish of the Japanese to continue enjoying a good Colombian coffee will translate into economic development for the Colombian coffee farmer families responsible for growing it.

Finally I would like to thank the Japanese Government, in particular the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for their hospitality, as well as the diplomatic corps based in Tokyo for the friendly support its members have always offered.

Wishing you well in your future endeavors.

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