By Narayan Ammachchi
Colombia’s export promotion agency Proexport is preparing to hold an investors’ conference in the United States to encourage North American companies to invest in the Andean country. The two-day event entitled ‘Macrorrueda’ will take place in Chicago, starting on September 4.
At the event, Colombian officials will have a face-to-face talk with investors, helping them figure out business opportunities in what is Latin America’s third biggest economy. “It’s not as fast as the Salsa that Colombia is so well-known for but buyers should have their best dancing shoes on to go through each potential partner during the course of the day,” says the Press release issued by Proexport.
Trade Commissioner Alvaro Concha has recently been promoting his country in New York, Toronto and Montreal, with a primary focus on tourism, investment and exportation. Concha said in Vancouver, Canada in June that Proexport’s goal is to make Colombia the “shining star in the South American constellation”.
Colombia has free trade agreements with both the United States and Canada. Over the past 13 years, Canadian companies have invested about $1.6 million in Colombia, and Proexport says the speed of investment picked up in 2011, when the two countries signed a free trade agreement.
In 2012, Colombia received over $15 billion of foreign direct investment (FDI) compared to the $13 billion received in 2011 when it was ranked Latin America’s fourth biggest FDI destination, behind Brazil, Mexico, and Chile, according to the US Department of State. The U.S. Colombia Open Skies Agreement came into effect in January 2013 and is expected to strengthen and expand trade and tourism as well as investments in the related sectors.Sign up for our Nearshore Americas newsletter:
Total Colombian exports to the United States were $23.0 billion in 2011, up 48 percent from the previous year while U.S. exports to Colombia totaled US $14.3 billion in 2011. From January through November 2012, exports to Colombia exceeded 2011 levels, reaching $15 billion.
Canadian investment in Colombia grew by 16.5 percent between 2011 and 2012. Some key Canadian players already established in the country include Scotiabank, Bata, Trican, SNC Lavalin, MacCain Foods, Brookfieldand Genivar.
Colombia has reportedly reduced tariffs significantly in an attempt make it a more attractive location for foreign investors. Macrorrueda will also feature products and services by Colombian companies from the agribusiness, manufacturing and apparel sectors.