L-R: Iván Duque Márquez, President of Colombia; Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister of Luxembourg; Credit: © SIP / Jean-Christophe Verhaegen

The Ministry of State has reported that the President of Colombia, Iván Duque Márquez, is currently paying a working visit to Luxembourg; this visit will last from 9 to 10 February 2022.

The Colombian President is accompanied by his Minister of Finance and Public Credit, José Manuel Restrepo Abondano, the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Carlos Eduardo Correa Escaf, and the Minister of Transport, Ángela María Orozco Gómez.

Day One

Following his arrival in the Grand Duchy, President Iván Duque Márquez met with Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and the Minister of Mobility and Public Works, François Bausch, for a working meeting at Senningen Castle for a working meeting. Discussions mainly focused on bilateral relations between Luxembourg and Colombia. Shared priorities include the fight against climate change and the preservation of biodiversity. In this context, the ministers mentioned the development of green finance.

Other discussed areas of ​​cooperation included information and communication technologies (ICT) and satellites in particular, as well as logistics. International trade was also on the agenda; trade relations between Luxembourg and Colombia will be further strengthened.

Alongside bilateral relations, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and President Iván Duque Márquez reviewed the regional situation in South America and Europe, in addition to the the peace process in Colombia.

"I am happy that President Duque has accepted my invitation for a working visit to Luxembourg. Our countries share many priorities [...]. I am very pleased with the close relations that our countries have built and will continue to strengthen", commented Luxembourg's Prime Minister. "I would also like to commend Colombia for its historic peace process, which has put an end to decades of conflict and violence".

During this first day of the working visit, the Colombian President was also received in audience by His Royal Highness the Grand Duke of Luxembourg at the Grand Ducal Palace. He later met with the President of the Chamber of Deputies (Parliament), Fernand Etgen.

Day Two

On Thursday 10 February 2022, the second and last day of the Colombian delegation's working visit to Luxembourg, the two countries' Finance Ministers, Yuriko Backes (Luxembourg) and José Manuel Restrepo Abondano (Colombia), signed a new agreement aimed at avoiding double taxation and preventing tax evasion with regard to taxes on income and wealth. 

This new agreement aims to promote economic relations between the two countries by eliminating double taxation. Colombia is considered a promising market for the distribution of Luxembourg investment funds in Latin America, particularly in the context of pension funds. The agreement also provides for the inclusion of the latest standards in terms of the exchange of information as well as the standards resulting from the OECD BEPS action plan, thus taking into account the commitments made by Luxembourg at the international level.

Luxembourg's Minister of Finance, Yuriko Backes, commented: "This new tax treaty, which is fully compliant with the latest highest international standards in terms of transparency and the fight against tax evasion, allows the further development of economic relations by facilitating investments between our two country".

Later today, President Iván Duque Márquez will meet with the former President of the European Commission (and former Luxembourg Prime Minister), Jean-Claude Juncker.

The Colombian President and his delegation will also visit the headquarters of the SES satellite company in Betzdorf.

L-R: Colombian President Iván Duque Márquez; HRH Grand Duke Henri; Credit: Maison du Grand-Duc