Colombian President Ivan Duque Marquez’s first State Visit to China at the end of July marks a new stage of bilateral relations, said Colombian Business Leader Jaime Suarez.

The visit “couldn’t have been made at a better time, nor been more positive,” Executive Director of the Colombian-Chinese Chamber of Investment and Commerce Jaime Suarez.

The visit took place ahead of the 40th anniversary of the bilateral relations amid “this ‘new era’ of opening of the Chinese market.”

Suarez said one of the main achievements of the president’s visit was the agreement signed by Colombian Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Andres Valencia, which will allow the export of Colombian avocados to China.

Suarez said organisations from different sectors, including the Farmers’ Society of Colombia, the Colombian Federation of Cattlemen and PorkColombia, identified business opportunities in Beijing and Shanghai, cities which were visited by the president and his diplomatic and business delegation.

The business leader also considered it “very important” for Colombia to become part of the China-proposed Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), which is supported by more than 150 countries and international organisations, including those from Latin America and the Caribbean.

He said it is an opportunity for Colombia to consolidate the expansion of certain products desired by China, but also stressed the importance to “know” the market.

He said Colombian businessmen should take into consideration cultural differences, market segmentation, as well as e-commerce and cross-border e-commerce.

Suarez also said Duque’s visit to China is a two-way street, as it boosts bilateral relations beyond the commercial arena.

“With this new chapter, we expect that more Chinese companies will operate in Colombia and that those already in the country will participate in more projects in infrastructure, renewable energy, and technology and telecommunications, among other fields,” he said.

“More trade, more investment, more tourism, more cultural exchanges and more cooperation between both nations,” said Suarez, quoting President Duque.