BEIJING, May 10 (Xinhua) -- China on Thursday called for an early launch of negotiations on a free trade agreement with Colombia.
The two countries' economies are highly complementary. China and Colombia should start negotiations on the free trade agreement as soon as possible and strive to quickly make it a success, so to promote bilateral trade and investment cooperation, said Premier Wen Jiabao in a meeting with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.
Wen said the Chinese government will encourage companies to join in infrastructure construction and resources exploitation and utilization in Colombia.
He also called on the two sides to expand cooperation in areas including technology, agriculture and disaster alleviation.
China is ready to strengthen communication with regional economic cooperation organizations in Latin America on the basis of equality and reciprocity, the premier added.
Santos echoed Wen saying the two countries are facing great potential for economic cooperation. An early signing of the free trade agreement is in both sides' interests.
He said China's fast growth provided new opportunities for bilateral cooperation. Colombia will learn more from China's development and further expand its exchanges and cooperation with the Asian nation in all areas.
The president also vowed to increase communication and coordination with China on international and regional affairs, so to promote all-round development of the bilateral ties.
On Wednesday, President Hu Jintao also held talks with Santos, who is visiting China for the first time since being elected president in 2010.
After meeting with Wen, Santos also met with China's top legislator Wu Bangguo and Vice Premier Li Keqiang. He is also scheduled to visit Shanghai before returning home.