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Colombia sees free-trade deal with Chile signed on Nov 27

Dow Jones Newswires

Colombia Sees Free-Trade Deal With Chile Signed On Nov 27

21 September 2006

By Diana Delgado, Dow Jones Newswires

BOGOTA -(Dow Jones)- Colombia and Chile will sign a free-trade agreement on Nov. 27 instead of in January as originally announced because negotiations are going faster than expected, President Alvaro Uribe said in New York on Thursday.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet is exceptionally effective, Uribe said at the end of meeting with Bachelet in New York, where they are attending the U.N. General Assembly. "With her you speak 30 seconds, and you make decisions."

"Chile is an interesting country because it has a lot of money to invest overseas," he added.

The two countries will hold two rounds of negotiations instead of three.

The first round of negotiations will take place in Santiago between Oct. 10 and 13, while the second and last round will be held in Colombia between Nov. 13 and 17, in an unspecified city, said a statement from Uribe’s press office citing Eduardo Munoz, Colombia’s vice minister of commerce and industry.

The topics currently on the negotiating table are investment policies, access to markets, government procurement and services, Munoz said.

Munoz and Alejandro Foxley, Chile’s foreign minister, will lead the negotiations, said the statement.

Foxley recently said Chilean businesses have invested $3.5 billion in Colombia, while Colombian foreign direct investment in Chile has "started increasing."

Three months ago, Chile also signed a similar free-trade deal with Peru amid a plethora of other trade pacts Chile has recently signed.

Meanwhile, Colombia sealed a free-trade agreement with the U.S. early this year that still needs ratification by the legislatures of both countries.