Relations with Other Nations
Bilateral relations with nations outside the Western Hemisphere were almost solely based on trade and other economic dealings. Largely as a result of imports from Colombia by the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany), European Economic Community countries accounted for about a quarter of Colombia's primary export markets in 1985. Colombia's relations with West European countries in the late 1980s continued to be mainly pragmatic and trade oriented. Spain, though not a major importer of Colombian goods, continued to maintain cultural and historic ties with Colombia. The influence of France has been second only to that of Spain on Colombia's European-oriented culture. Portugal's relations with Colombia also were important because of the similarity of the goods that Portugal and its former African colonies produced.
Colombia also maintained trade relations with Asian countries, especially Japan, which accounted for 4 percent of Colombia's exports and 10.4 percent of its imports in 1985. In September 1987, Barco met with President Chun Doo Hwan of the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and made public a communiqué concerning economic and technological exchange agreements, including a commitment to expand trade in natural resources.
Colombia's relations with Israel were strengthened by a trade accord signed by the two countries in April 1988 in which Israel agreed to purchase 2 million tons of Colombian coal during the 1988-91 period. In exchange, Colombia committed itself to buying fourteen Israeli-made Kfir combat jets costing US$60 million. The United States Department of State unofficially approved the sale of the Kfir (jets powered with American-made engines) in 1987.
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