CIAC Event: Challenges and Opportunities in Latin America.

On Thursday 12th March the Spanish Chamber of Commerce took part in an evening talk on “Business Risks & Mitigation: Latin America” organised by the Council of Ibero American Chambers in the UK (CIAC). The event was held at the Meliá White House hotel, member of the Chamber, and it was kindly sponsored by ONTIER, also one of our associated companies.

Nearly 100 representatives from member companies of the CIAC were in attendance to enjoy the opportunity to listen to a range of experts in the international business and law area who contributed with their insights on the challenges that foreign investors face -and how they can overcome them – when entering the Latin American market, especially focusing in the Colombian and Mexican ones.

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Our guests mingling before the talk started.

On this occasion, Mr. Haydon Warren-Gash, Chairman of the Colombian Chamber of Commerce and former Ambassador to Colombia, warmly welcomed the audience on behalf of the CIAC.  He was acting as well as the event chairman, so Mr. Warren-Gash went on to introduce the panel of speakers after his opening remarks.

First in line was Irene Mia, the Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the Economist Intelligence Unit and keynote speaker of the event. She provided a very insightful and detailed summary on the current issues affecting Latin America from the economic, political and educational frame.  Irene made a special emphasis on the educational problem as a key factor delaying most of the region’s development.

 After her contribution, it was the turn of  Mr. Adolfo Suárez Illana, International President of ONTIER, who briefly presented the company, its scope and how they work. During his speech, Mr. Suárez highlighted that business is risk – which also stands for opportunity-, and so despite the challenges that South America presented in the past, there is a regular flow of foreign companies willing to bring forward new investments and projects in the region.

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From left to right: Luis Miguel Ramírez Ruggeberg (Ontier Mexico), Álvaro Enrique Leyva Muñoz (Ontier Colombia), Adolfo Suárez Illana (President of Ontier), Irene Mia (The Economist Intelligence Unit), Seamus Andrew (Ontier UK) and Mr. Haydon Warren-Gash (Chairman of the Colombian Chamber of Commerce and former Ambassador to Colombia).

After Mr. Adolfo, our attendants had the pleasure to listen to Mr. Seamus Andrew, Managing Partner of Ontier UK, who provided further evidence of the interest for UK companies to set up in the area and how several Latin American governments are responding to this by implementing investment plans to encourage economic development and attract overseas business.

After discussing the UK perspective it was time for ONTIER country experts to talk about two of the most interesting countries in the region: Colombia and Mexico. The chair thus gave the floor to Dr. Álvaro Enrique Leyva Muñoz, Partner of Ontier Colombia, who gave an overview about the Colombian market and key sectors to invest in. He finished by remarking that, contrary to common belief, Colombia is a very safe country for companies both from the social and legal point of view.

Mr. Luis Miguel Ramírez Ruggeberg, Senior Associate of Ontier Mexico, started with a quote from Franklin D. Roosvelt, saying that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”, in reference to overseas companies thinking about potentially investing in Mexico. He highlighted the reliable legal system of the country and talked about the reforms that are taking place on the energy sector, which is attracting many foreign companies.

After the panel contributed with their expertise, the chair led the Q&A session and took questions from the audience. Before closing the talk, Mr. Warren-Gash emphatically thanked all attendees for their keen interest and participation in the event as well as the speakers for their insightful comments and contributions.

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The members of the different companies that belong to the CIAC organisations had an excellent opportunity to network with colleagues from other countries.

All guests moved then to the drinks reception that followed and where they could exchange their impressions on and talk more personally with the speakers about the points they had made over a glass of wine. The networking continued well until after 10 pm, which accounted for the level of engagement and interest the event had generated among the CIAC members.

We would like to thank our guests for joining us on yet another successful CIAC event. The CIAC is especially grateful to ONTIER, our sponsor on this occasion, for their support and involvement with this activity.

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Keep an eye on our UPCOMING EVENTS section on our website to learn more about future activities. Remember that you can also subscribe to our weekly electronic newsletter in order to receive updates on the Chamber and our upcoming events!

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