Colombia president welcomes Brexit trade prospect

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Juan Manuel SantosImage source, Getty Images

Trade between Colombia and the UK has the potential to grow after Brexit, the country's president has suggested.

Juan Manuel Santos said a new agreement could be better than Colombia's current free trade deal with the EU.

Interviewed for Sunday's edition of the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, Mr Santos said there was an opportunity for greater UK trade with emerging markets.

Mr Santos held talks with Prime Minister Theresa May at Downing Street last week during his state visit.

At the time he said Colombia, Chile, Peru and Mexico - the Pacific Alliance free trade bloc - represented a "huge opportunity for British business".

He told the BBC: "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."

However, he stressed that no negotiations would take place until the UK had confirmed its eventual economic relationship with the EU.

Image source, AP
Image caption,
Mr Santos was in the UK last week for a state visit - the first by a Colombian president

The UK and Colombia's trading relationship was worth £1bn last year and Mr Santos and Mrs May announced a new oil and gas partnership after their meeting.

Mrs May also said she wanted Colombian businesses to see the UK as a leading hub for finance, innovation, research and development.