Aruba strengthening commercial ties with Colombia
By Anika in Business opportunities, Export on 23. Aug, 20121 Comment
This week the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Aruba is organizing and hosting an incoming trade mission from Colombia. The mission consists of companies that want to offer opportunities for local entrepreneurs. The visiting business executives represent a large variety of companies offering goods like fruit, vegetables, wood, furniture, flowers, construction materials and plastic products.
Driven by domestic demand and a strong commodity export performance in 2011 Colombia’s economy has continued to develop solidly and the growth rate is expected to exceed 4% in 2012.
Colombia has a generally healthy financial sector and improvements in the labor market (unemployment is now under 10%) support continued growth in domestic spending and credit creation.
With the ratification of Colombia’s free trade agreement (FTA) with the U.S. in October 2011 nontraditional export growth and investment between the two countries is expected to surge in the coming years.
Colombia is the world’s fourth exporter of coal, and the region’s fourth-largest oil producer.
Foreign direct investment into Colombia soared 26 per cent in the first half of 2012 as companies poured billions of dollars into the Andean country’s oil and mining sectors.
The surge in foreign investment, combined with a domestic credit boom, has led some Wall Street experts to christen Colombia “The New Brazil”.
On the other hand Colombia is also known for its aggressive outward investment strategies in other countries over the last few years, especially in Central America. Central America has become an interesting market for large Colombian companies. The latest example of large-scale investment in Central America is the recent $801 million purchase of the assets of the HSBC bank in Costa Rica, El Salvador and Honduras by Banco Davivienda. Also remarkable was the purchase of the Agricultural Bank of El Salvador by Bancolombia and BAC Credomatic, which was sold to the Banco de Bogota.
Another recent significant investment entails the alliance between Avianca and the Salvadoran Taca.
Currently the Colombian business sector is exploring business opportunities in the Caribbean region, including Aruba. Colombia is not just interested in supplying products to this region, but the country is also contemplating investing and buying products produced in these markets.
A medium and long-term strategy is to further penetrate the European markets. Currently only about 12% of Colombia’s exports go to the European Union, however according to Colombian officials there is so much more potential for growth.
Aruba has much to offer to support and facilitate Colombia in attracting and developing inward and outward investments. The location, relationship with the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the European Union, a multi-lingual and multi-cultural workforce, in combination with the benefits of the free zone are a perfect framework for exploring business opportunities with the visiting trade delegation from Colombia.