Readout of the Vice President's Meeting with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos
Vice President Mike Pence met today with President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia at the Presidential Guest House in Cartagena. The leaders discussed a range of issues central to the bilateral relationship, including cooperation on counternarcotics, implementation of Colombia’s historic peace accord, and building the trade and economic relationship. Vice President Pence expressed concerns about the continuing rise of coca production, and reiterated US support for Colombia’s counternarcotics and eradication efforts. The two leaders discussed progress implementing the Peace Accords, including recent disarmament actions, and spoke frankly about the challenges that lie ahead. Highlighting the economic relationship and successful free trade agreement, Vice President Pence announced new market access for Colombian Hass avocados into the United States, and President Santos released measures to expand US exports of rough rice to Colombia. The Vice President also expressed support for Colombia's effort to meet the OECD's high standards, and pledged up to $2 million to improve labor practices. The two leaders also discussed their deep, mutual concern over the erosion of democracy in Venezuela, and Vice President Pence reiterated the President’s commitment to bring the full weight of US diplomatic and economic weight to bear to restore its democracy.