Bolivia Hosts Andean Business Meeting
The XII Andean Business Meeting was held in the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia on August 15-16. Locally known as the Encuentro Empresarial Andino, the regional meeting is celebrated as the most important business conference for the Andean community. Representatives across agro-industrial companies held business meetings and showcased the best of their exportable offers.
The XII Andean Business Meeting concluded on Wednesday, August 16, with a preliminary report of 593 business appointments and an expectation of business of more than 6 million dollars during a day and a half of the two scheduled for the event, reported the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bolivia, Rogelio Mayta.
The face-to-face meeting, organized by the Andean Community (CAN) brought together more than 50 exporters and 38 buyers from nine Latin American countries, who met for two days in Santa Cruz, from August 15 to 16, 2023, as reported by Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Bolivia.
XII Andean Business Meeting
The XII Andean Business Meeting commenced on August 15, marking a significant return to in-person interactions after four years. This event, hosted in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, brought together approximately 90 companies from the agro-industrial sector across the CAN, Andean Community Countries: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.
Businesses included exporters and buyers from the agro-food, chemical, and manufacturing sectors. Alongside companies from the four CAN countries, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from Brazil, Chile, Guatemala, Panama, and Puerto Rico were also in attendance.
The primary objective of this event is to bolster intra-regional trade, leverage the benefits of the Andean free trade zone, create fresh avenues for business collaborations and foster new opportunities.
The group also aims to establish a platform for Andean exports into other Latin American markets, with a particular focus on empowering small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Comunidad Andina (CAN)
Comprising Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, the Andean Community stands as a prominent international organization for continental integration. Its primary goal is to enhance the quality of life for approximately 115 million citizens residing within the Andean region.
The Andean Community (CAN) consists of multiple bodies and institutions forming the Andean Integration System (SAI). The primary aim of SAI is to attain holistic, equitable, and independent development through Andean integration, extending its influence toward South American and Latin American integration.
The journey of Andean integration commenced on May 26, 1969, with the signing of the Cartagena Agreement in Colombia. This treaty established the objectives of integration, outlined its institutional structure, and laid out the mechanisms and policies.
Originally known as the Andean Pact, this initiative evolved into the present-day Andean Community.
- Foster balanced and equitable development among Member Countries through economic and social integration and cooperation.
- Accelerate economic growth and the creation of productive jobs for the citizens of the Member Countries.
- Facilitate the engagement of Member Countries in the process of regional integration, with the ultimate aim of gradually establishing a unified Latin American market.
- Reduce external vulnerabilities and enhance the position of Member Countries within the global economic landscape.
- Bolster subregional solidarity and narrow the existing disparities in development among the Member Countries.
- Strive for consistent enhancement in the quality of life for the inhabitants of the subregion.
During the opening ceremony, Benjamín Blanco, the Vice Minister of Foreign Trade and Integration of Bolivia, representing the Pro Tempore Presidency of the Andean Community, emphasized the significance of the Andean free trade zone.
Blanco highlighted that for Bolivia, the CAN holds great importance as it serves as the primary destination for its non-traditional exports, thus contributing to the ongoing economic revival efforts of the national government.
Blanco emphasized that the event’s objective, driven by the collaborative efforts of the four countries, is to foster opportunities for productive linkages, synergy, and the identification of avenues for producers to expand their presence in the international market.
“Andean integration is the best tool in an increasingly competitive world and in the face of new global challenges,” the vice minister emphasized.
Diego Caicedo, the General Secretary of the CAN, asserted the significant role of SMEs in the region, constituting 90% of businesses and contributing to 60% of job opportunities.
He further highlighted the organization’s ongoing efforts to create a conducive environment for business development, showcasing initiatives like the INTERCOM project, aimed at linking foreign trade entities to facilitate the exchange of around 4 million digital documents, and the upcoming establishment of the Regional Phytosanitary Intelligence Center.
Caicedo underscored that, after 54 years of commercial integration, the CAN has evolved into a dynamic market. In 1969, when the CAN was established, intra-community exports totaled $52.7 million. Today, they surpass $10,632 million, reflecting an average annual growth rate of 10.5%.
Oscar Mario Justiniano, President of the Federation of Private Entrepreneurs of Santa Cruz, highlighted that the Meeting serves as a platform for SMEs to explore collaborative solutions, bolster their competitiveness, forge new partnerships, and collectively address contemporary challenges.
The opening ceremony of the event was attended by representatives from the Vice Ministry of Foreign Trade and Integration of Bolivia, ProColombia, ProEcuador, Promperú, Ambassadors from the Andean countries, and the Diplomatic Corps accredited in Bolivia.
The XII Andean Business Meeting held in the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra concluded on Wednesday, August 16, with a preliminary report of 593 business appointments, with an expectation of business of more than 6 million dollars during a day and a half of the two scheduled for the event, reported the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bolivia, Rogelio Mayta.
“It has been a success if we consider that we come from previous versions to which it has even quadrupled in numbers,” said the Bolivian Foreign Minister, referring to past years of virtual meetings due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The last face-to-face Andean Business Meeting was held in Bolivia in 2019.
The authority clarified that these preliminary figures will undoubtedly be higher when in a few days the total number of appointments of the business conference and the amounts committed among the participating businessmen are available.
The face-to-face meeting, organized by the Andean Community (CAN) brought together more than 50 exporters and 38 buyers from nine Latin American countries, who met for two days in Santa Cruz, from August 15 to 16, 2023.
It was the first event held by Bolivia in its CAN Pro Tempore Presidency since last August 4, after the transfer by the Republic of Peru.
El XII Encuentro Empresarial Andino realizado en la ciudad de Santa Cruz de la Sierra concluyó el miércoles 16 de agosto con un reporte preliminar de 593 citas de negocio, con una expectativa de negocios de más de 6 millones de dólares durante una jornada y media de las dos… pic.twitter.com/YUvi9WjxGt
— Cancillería de Bolivia (@MRE_Bolivia) August 17, 2023
“We have to work so that this year that we have the Pro Tempore Presidency, so that next year our Andean Business Meeting is held, wherever it is held, we multiply it,” encouraged Foreign Minister Mayta.
The Andean Business Meeting was organized by the agencies that promote foreign trade through PROMPERÚ, PROCOLOMBIA, PROECUADOR and the Vice Ministry of Foreign Trade and Integration of the Bolivian Foreign Ministry, countries that make up the Andean Community.
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