The Year 2019 has been a banner year for China-Colombia ties, Colombian Economist Enrique Posada.

Relations were strengthened by Colombian President Ivan Duque Marquez’s State visit to Beijing in late July, accompanied by a sizeable delegation of diplomats and business leaders eager to expand ties with their counterparts in China, said Posada.

“Trade saw important exponential growth and investment grew” between the two nations, said Posada, head of the Asia-Pacific Virtual Watch and director of the Confucius Institute at Jorge Tadeo Lozano University in Bogota.

The year also witnessed the biggest possible bilateral achievement in the history of China-Colombia ties, said Posada.

“I want to spotlight the bid won … by two highly important companies in road engineering and infrastructure engineering in China, which won the bidding for the Bogota subway,” Posada said.

The China expert called it “the largest victory” in ties between the two countries, “perhaps in the entire 40-year history of relations.”

Consortium APCA Transmimetro, comprised of China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd. and Xi’an Metro Company Ltd., will be involved in every aspect of the project, from design, partial financing, building the stations and supplying the trains, to operating the system for 20 years.

In late November, Duque presided over the signing of the contract with the Chinese consortium for the construction of the first subway line in the country’s capital.

“I am sure that the successful construction of Bogota’s subway will open frontiers to more projects,” Duque said on November 27.

According to Posada, bilateral ties will be further enhanced in the coming decade by the Chinese Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), which comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt & the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, and aims to spur global growth through further trade and connectivity between different regions.

“I see the BRI as a wide reaching megaproject” that encompasses Asia, Africa, Europe and even Latin America, said Posada.

“As Chinese President Xi Jinping says, Latin America is the natural extension of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road,” he said, adding “Colombia will soon take the step towards signing the Belt & Road agreement, and all Colombians will celebrate that.”