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Colombia aims to double meat exports after clearance on foot and mouth disease

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BOGOTA, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Colombia will look to double its meat exports now it has regained its status as a country free of foot and mouth disease, President Ivan Duque said on Thursday.

Foot and mouth is a highly contagious viral disease found in animals and is one of the most serious to affect livestock, including cattle, sheep and pigs.

The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), which suspended the Andean country's foot and mouth-free status in August 2018, said on its website that Colombia had fulfilled the requirements to be re-declared free of the disease.

"We have waited months for this news," Duque told reporters. "Now we want to open markets for Colombian meat... our goal is to double our meat exports in the coming years."

Colombia is classed by the OIE as a country where vaccination for the disease is practiced. (Reporting by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Dan Grebler)