Brazil And Colombia: On A Consolidated Path Of Cooperation – OpEd


On April 17, 2024, the President of the Republic of Colombia, Gustavo Petro Urrego, received the President of the Federative Republic of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, on the occasion of his Official Visit to Bogotá. President Lula da Silva has visited Colombia six times in his previous mandates and his last visit was in 2023.  

The Brazilian head of state participated in the inauguration of the 36th edition of the Bogotá International Book Fair -FILBo-, which has Brazil as a Guest Country of Honor, and delivered a keynote speech at the closing of the Brazil-Colombia Business Forum, promoted by ApexBrasil and ProColombia.

The Leaders of Colombia and Brazil expressed their willingness to form a Strategic Alliance that pulls together all of Latin America.  

According to Planalto, Brasília’s official press statement: “Lula’s visit to Colombia marks another stage in the process of rapprochement between the two countries, which began with Gustavo Petro’s presence at the Brazilian leader’s inauguration ceremony on January 1, 2023, and then with the Colombian head of government’s visit to the meeting of South American presidents in Brasilia at the end of May last year. In addition, Lula was present at the closing of the Amazon Technical-Scientific Meeting in July 2023 in Leticia, Colombia, an event prior to the Belém Summit.” [1] 

Brazil and Colombia are in harmony towards building a greater bilateral partnership in the environmental agenda since South America is currently at the heart of discussions on the environment and the fight against climate change. The two nations stand out for being the countries that have reduced deforestation the most in the world and will soon be at the center of global environmental discussions: especially during the upcoming sessions of the climate change conference in Baku on 11-22 November 2024. 

COP 29 is scheduled to convene in Baku, Azerbaijan, from 11 to 22 November 2024; it will certainly address the accomplishments of the Colombian and Brazilian Governments in reducing deforestation and destruction of forests. According to Frances Seymour, the winner of the American Carbon Registry’s Climate Leadership award (World Resources Institute): “The main reason tropical forests are disappearing is not a mystery – vast areas continue to be cleared for soy, beef, palm oil, timber, and other globally traded commodities.”

Furthermore, on Oct. 21 through Nov. 1, 2024. The government of President Gustavo Petro, will be hosting in the City of Cali the sixteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP16). Such an international event will build momentum to the major COP 29 summit that will take place in the Republic of Azerbaijan. 

In this context Brazil is preparing to host COP 30 in Belém in 2025.   

In addition to their similarities around the environmental agenda, Lula and Gustavo Petro have converging views on important issues such as South American integration, respecting traditional indigenous communities, and attention to border populations.  A testimony of this commitment is that Brazil has once again participated in the Peace Dialogue Table between the Colombian government and the National Liberation Army.  

The two statesmen reaffirmed the importance of cooperating together in increasing production and the use of renewable energy, including bioenergy, to contribute in securing energy sources for both countries and accelerate their energy transitions in a sustainable fashion. Both leaders are strong advocates for fair trade, equitable and inclusive economies. They recognized the potential of both countries for the production of green hydrogen and requested Ecopetrol and Petrobras to explore possibilities for joint development or drafting complementary alternatives to green hydrogen generation projects.  

After recognizing that the trade balance between Colombia and Brazil is negative, President Gustavo Petro requested to his Brazilian counterpart to unite through “a strategic key” in order to strengthen a decarbonized economy that does not depend on fossil derivatives of coal and oil.  In his main speech, the president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, stated that “a strategic alliance between Colombia and Brazil is key to the future of South America.” [2] 

The two leaders spoke at the Colombia – Brazil business forum at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Bogotá, where the Colombian head of state emphasized that given the difficulties of Latin American relations due to different problems; “Colombia and Brazil must make a breakthrough, in such a way that allows the Latin America region to be entirely revitalized.”

President Gustavo Petro made a reference to bilateral trade relations: “the trade balance between Colombia and Brazil in 2023 reached USD 5,652 million, of which USD 1,885 million were Colombian exports, while Bogota purchased Brazilian products with the value of USD 3,767 million, consisting of a negative commercial balance for Colombia.” [3] 

For this reason, the Colombian leader explained that this deficit marks a trend “and in almost all areas of national production the percentage of exports to the rest of the world is very small when compared to the structure of the trade balance itself.”   

For the Colombian president, this phenomenon is due to the fact that Colombia exports fossil derivatives, coal, oil, and imports coffee, sugar, corn, among other commodities: “it is still paradoxical that Colombia imports from Brazil items that are produced in our country and vice versa.”  As of February 2024, according to the Colombian Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, bilateral exchange has been growing.  

In the first two months of 2024, Colombian exports to Brazil reached the amount of USD 339.9 million with an increase of 35.3% compared to the same period in 2023. On this trade flow, non-mining goods contributed USD 149 million with an increase of 1.8%. In January 2024 alone, Colombia had purchased products from Brazil for USD 260.5 million dollars.   

Among the products that Colombia sells to Brazil are coal, plastics, palm oil, fungicides, carbon, paper and cardboard; it purchases from Brazil, vehicles, cereals, machinery, pharmaceutical products, food preparations and oils.  

Brazil is the seventh on the list of top destinations for Colombian foreign sales and fourth in non-mining energy products, including sectors such as agriculture, agroindustry, and manufacturing. In Colombia’s imports, Brazil is the third largest supplier of non-mining products.  





Prof. Dr. Jeton Kelmendi

Prof. Dr. Jeton Kelmendi is a distinguished Albanian writer and University Professor in Kosovo and a political analyst. Kelmendi is the author of over thirty books, poetry and prose, published in over thirty languages.

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