6 Mar 2013

Key first NZ leader to visit Colombia

8:24 pm on 6 March 2013

John Key has arrived in Colombia, the first New Zealand Prime Minister to visit the country.

Mr Key is on a 10-day tour of Latin America with a 22-strong business delegation that will also visit Mexico, Chile and Brazil.

Colombia, with a population of just over 45 million people, is one of New Zealand's smaller trading partners in terms of value with just over $13 million worth of exports to the country in 2012.

With its economic growth reaching 5% last year, Mr Key is keen to increase two-way trade and relationships between the nations.

Dairy cooperative Fonterra already has joint-venture initiatives in Colombia, but its Latin America director, Alex Turnbull, says restrictions on imports and tariffs make doing business challenging.

Mr Key will fly to the Colombian capital, Bogota, to meet with President Juan Manuel Santos on Wednesday.