Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Search Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Carmen Gonzalez, David Sprott, AppDynamics Blog

News Feed Item

Latin American Stocks Q&A: An Exclusive Interview with Colombia's Trade Commissioner, Alvaro Concha

Alvaro Concha, Colombia's Trade Commissioner in Canada since 2011 Discusses the Past Three Years Following Anniversary of the Colombia-Canada FTA and Prospects for the Future

NEW YORK and POINT ROBERTS, Wash., Aug. 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Investorideas.com, (www.investorideas.com) a global news source covering leading sectors including Latin American stocks, issues an exclusive Q&A with Alvaro Concha, Proexport Colombia Trade Commissioner in Canada since 2011.

Mr. Concha discusses recent news and events, including an IT forum held in New York in late July, and shares insights into the significance of the anniversary of the Colombia - Canada Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Since the FTA came into effect (August 15, 2011), 434 Colombian companies have exported to Canada for the first time, with the majority coming from manufacturing (41.5 percent), agribusiness (34.8 percent) and apparel (22.8 percent).

According to the government's statistics agency, DANE, Proexport Colombia reported record growth in the two countries' trade relationship, with Colombian exports to Canada increasing by 10.6 percent to reach more than US$107 million for non-mining and non-coffee products.

Alvaro shares first-hand insight and perspective on the success of the past three years and the promising future ahead. 

Interview

Q: Investorideas.com  
Colombia's IT sector is the third largest in Latin America, with technology showing 33 percent growth over the past five years. According to International Data Corporation (IDC), total sales in 2013 for the software and IT sector in Colombia exceeded US$3 billion and it is expected that this figure will double by 2018. Can you break down some of that growth and share some of the contributing factors?  

A: Alvaro Concha, Colombia's Trade Commissioner
Colombia has a very strong and growing IT market. In terms of the launch of the new campaign, "Colombia Bring IT On", led by Proexport Colombia, it showcases the IT industry in Colombia, how well-developed the infrastructure of the IT industry is, the growth of the industry and what Colombia has to offer - not only as a sourcing market - but also an opportunity for joint ventures.  The campaign also showcases the human capital and the qualified workforce that we have. It also gives a better understanding of all of the creative and innovative industries that we have. I think that all of the basics are already established, and it's now time for the companies to come over and start actually building businesses.  IT is a growing industry.  We have over 2500 companies and different technological partners around the country, and the Government, through the Ministry of IT, has a very strong strategy to keep on growing the sector and to put Colombia on the map as one of the key players.

Q: Investorideas.com  
You recently hosted a two-day business matching forum, focused on the technology sector, in New York City on July 23 and 24th. Can you give us a breakdown of the companies participating from North America and Colombia and was there any particular area of technology that seemed to be a dominant theme in the event?

A: Alvaro Concha, Colombia's Trade Commissioner
Let me start by saying the event in New York was a very successful one.  Twenty-two Canadian companies attended the event. They had the opportunity to meet with over 70 Colombian companies, and some of the sectors included software development, tailor-made software, animation, digital animation, web-app developers and some gaming companies. 

Q: Investorideas.com  
You have hosted matchmaking events in the past, typically what kind of results and business dealings do you see materialize from these events?

A: Alvaro Concha, Colombia's Trade Commissioner
The overall comments from not only Colombian companies but also the Canadian and United States companies in attendance were very positive.  They were very happy with the match-making and the quality of the companies that Colombia showcased there.  The feedback from the Colombian companies was also very positive in terms of the quality of the Canadian companies attending the event.   What we guaranteed was the presence from Canadian companies across the country, from different provinces and locations, giving full access to Canada's markets.  We are, as we speak, doing the follow-up on all of the opportunities and businesses ventures that were identified.

Q: Investorideas.com  
Can you give us an idea of some of the big-name tech companies that are setting up in Colombia?

A: Alvaro Concha, Colombia's Trade Commissioner
One of the companies that has established in Colombia in the past year is Pipeline Studios.  Also Atomic Entertainment from Ontario is working and establishing their company in Colombia.

Q: Investorideas.com
Are they using Colombia more as a base for expanding into Latin America?

A: Alvaro Concha, Colombia's Trade Commissioner
The main purpose initially is to actually establish a presence in the country. But once you are in Colombia, and this applies not only to the IT companies, but also to any other company, Colombia is a good export platform for the rest of region. You will be able to take advantage of all the different trade agreements and the possibilities to do trade with the rest of the countries of the region.  Colombia has big trade zones, very competitive ones, and has access and communication with all of the countries of the region.  Being the third-largest economy in Latin America helps and enables Colombia to have a very active role in terms of trade with the  whole region.  So, establishing yourself in Colombia in terms of business, initially as a sourcing product to come back to Canada; that might be the first step.  But obviously, the second and third step is to link with Colombia and reach out from Colombia to the rest of the region. 

Q: Investorideas.com  
Shifting to the anniversary of the Colombia-Canada Free Trade Agreement on Friday, August 15th, it's now three years since the agreement was signed. Can you break down some of the measurable results? What are the sectors driving that growth currently and can you give us some of the highlights within those sectors and do you see that changing in the future?

A: Alvaro Concha, Colombia's Trade Commissioner
Colombian non-mining exports have experienced a positive compounded growth of 6.6 percent between 2010 and 2013.  We have over 425 new companies exporting for the first time in Canada since the FTA came into effect.  We have grown and diversified our portfolio of products. We have experienced some interesting growth. In agri-business, not only concentrating in the exporting of flowers, bananas and fruits but trying to go to different products in the industry. We have also experienced good growths in apparel, manufacturing goods, and also service. The growth for example in apparel, is 48% from August 2011 to June 2014. Leather goods for example, have increased more than 100%. In terms of numbers, it's still low, in terms of amounts of million dollars. But the great thing to see are the percentages and how new products are arriving into the Canadian markets.

Q: Investorideas.com
Where do you see the biggest growth opportunity over the next three years?

A: Alvaro Concha, Colombia's Trade Commissioner
Absolutely, services and IT industry is something that has to be worked more to create more awareness of what Colombia has to offer for Canadian companies. So I see a good growth in those specific sectors.  I also see bilateral trade improvement in cosmetics for example; in auto parts, in pharmaceuticals.  In the manufacturing industry, there's a lot of space for growth.  There's a lot of other products in industries, a lot of other sub-sectors that Colombia can present.  In the world of apparel for example, growth will come specifically in safety-wear and uniforms, not only in lingerie, swimwear and in active wear.

Q: Investorideas.com  
The first quarter of 2014 shows exports from Colombia to Canada have continued to grow, increasing by 158% and in a previous interview you talked about the first quarter GDP for Colombia being second to China in the world . What do you think is attributing to this kind of growth both with Canada and your whole economy?

A: Alvaro Concha, Colombia's Trade Commissioner
The growth in the overall trade is mainly driven by commodities.  Canada, for example, has again been buying green coffee and mineral goods from Colombia.  The growth is also driven by the quality of the products Colombia has, the awareness that Canadians have today of the Colombian companies.  For example, I just returned from a fashion show in Medellin two weeks ago, where prior to the FTA, we would never have had such a vast presence of foreign companies. Two weeks ago, I took 30 companies to Medellin; so it's growing in terms of curiosity in the market of what Colombia has to offer. That has caused Canadian companies to consider travelling to our country and understanding first-hand what we are capable of. 

Q: Investorideas.com  
Do you think your free trade agreement paved the path for other countries to enter free trade agreements with Colombia and what makes the Canadian - Colombia agreement so workable for both countries?

A: Alvaro Concha, Colombia's Trade Commissioner
Colombia has put together a strategy a couple of years ago to have better and more preferential access to the potential markets.  This is a strategy Colombia has been expediting for quite a while now.  The FTA with Canada was significant as the first country as a G8 member to sign an FTA with Colombia. That helped not only to improve our competitiveness, but also, after the Canadian FTA was put in effect, it helped push the United States to also sign the FTA with Colombia. I think that Colombia has inserted itself in the international markets very well.  At the beginning of 2000, Colombia had preferential access to not even 500 million consumers; now we have over 1.5 billion consumers with preferential access.  Thanks to the FTA strategy, the Government is considering and studying other FTA's with Asian markets.

Q: Investorideas.com  
There was talk at one time about Canada opening a discussion about joining the Pacific Alliance. Is there any update on that and can you tell our readers the current members and what other countries are looking at joining?

A: Alvaro Concha, Colombia's Trade Commissioner
Canada has not stated it has considered joining as an active member but is an observer.  There are more than 20 countries that are actually observers.  Costa Rica and Panama are very close to becoming full members of the Pacific Alliance. We are going to host seminars this fall to talk about the Pacific Alliance in Montreal and in Vancouver.  We are going to have the four ambassadors of the main members; Mexico, Peru, Chile and Colombia. The four ambassadors will be talking with the companies and the community in October and November.

Q: Investorideas.com  
Free trade; freedom of movement of goods and people is also a key element of the Pacific Alliance. How much of a role were Free Trade Agreements with the various countries to your overall growth in the past years?

A: Alvaro Concha, Colombia's Trade Commissioner
The Free Trade Agreement not only increased our competitiveness but it's the best way to have  preferential access to potential markets.  We are looking every single day in all the markets that we have an FTA with, as to how we should be increasing our trade, the other potential markets or sectors or products we could be increasing our trade with. I do believe that FTA's have helped our trade to grow, and the numbers are showing that.  The overall exports, the overall trade in Colombia is growing at a good pace. 

Q: Investorideas.com  
In closing, you have been Colombia's Trade Commissioner in Canada since 2011. So, from your perspective, what do you think is the most significant milestone and achievement over the past three years with the Colombia-Canada Free Trade Agreement? 

A: Alvaro Concha, Colombia's Trade Commissioner
I think that services is one.  Second is letting people understand that Colombia has more than agri-business; that we're more than flowers. We take international commitments very seriously and Colombia is a very strong and key player in the region.  We want to do things not only in a very responsible way to our community, but also in terms of environmental issues.

We have been creating more and more awareness, not only in Toronto but in all of Canada.  That's why we have a base in Montreal and Vancouver, so we can spread out our opportunities. 

And the third notable achievement is tourism.  When Colombia presented itself to Canada and the world a couple of years ago; nobody wanted to know anything about our country. Nobody wanted to get close to Colombia and now that Colombia has marketed and changed the perception, there are a lot of people wanting to see what is going on here. There are a lot of visitors wanting to see this country and when they are here they understand that Colombia is now a safe country. And business visitors see that Colombia is a very key player in the terms of economy and a key partner for Canada.

ALVARO CONCHA
Alvaro Concha, Colombia's Trade Commissioner in Canada since 2011, is an experienced professional with over 15 years' experience in global business and market-development strategies. As head of the Canadian offices of Proexport Colombia - the country's investment, tourism and export promotion agency - Mr. Concha has worked tirelessly to strengthen Colombia's trade relationship with Canada. Mr. Concha's leadership has resulted in a significant increase in Colombian exports to Canada, the securing of a new roster of important Canadian investors in Colombia, and a surge in the number of Canadian tourists visiting Colombia.

Before being appointed to Canada, Mr. Concha worked as Colombia's trade commissioner in Italy and headed the joint Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador office headquartered in Guatemala City. Throughout his career in Proexport Colombia, his goal has remained the same: to bring prosperity to all Colombians by bringing the best of Colombia to the rest of the world.

Mr. Concha holds a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from EAFIT University in Medellin, Colombia, and an MBA from the EEN - Escuela Europea de Negocios in Madrid, Spain.

About Proexport Colombia  http://www.proexport.com.co/en
Proexport provides business opportunities, clear information on requirements, strategies for expanding services and goods at an international level, participation in business fairs and assistance by experts for investors, exporters, and professionals that wish to come closer to their dreams.

About InvestorIdeas.com:
InvestorIdeas.com is a global news source for investors following leading business sectors including biotech, tech, mining, mobile, energy, water, defense and security, renewable energy, food and beverage stocks and Latin American stocks.

Follow Investorideas.com on Twitter http://twitter.com/Investorideas
Follow Investorideas.com on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/Investorideas

Sign up for our free news alerts
http://www.investorideas.com/Resources/Newsletter.asp

Become an Investorideas.com Member and use our online stock directories to research stocks – including biometric and mobile payment stocks http://www.investorideas.com/membership/

Disclaimer/ Disclosure: The Investorideas.com newswire is a third party publisher of news and research as well as creates original content as a news source. Original content created by investorideas is protected by copyright laws other than syndication rights. Investorideas is a news source on Google news and Linkedintoday plus hundreds of syndication partners. Our site does not make recommendations for purchases or sale of stocks or products. Nothing on our sites should be construed as an offer or solicitation to buy or sell products or securities. All investment involves risk and possible loss of investment. This site is currently compensated by featured companies, news submissions, content marketing and online advertising. Contact each company directly for press release questions. Disclosure is posted on each release if required but otherwise the news was not compensated for and is published for the sole interest of our readers. More disclaimer info: http://www.investorideas.com/About/Disclaimer.asp
BC Residents and Investor Disclaimer : Effective September 15 2008 - all BC investors should review all OTC and Pink sheet listed companies for adherence in new disclosure filings and filing appropriate documents with Sedar. Read for more info: http://www.bcsc.bc.ca/release.aspx?id=6894. Global investors must adhere to regulations of each country.

800-665-0411  

SOURCE Investorideas.com

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
The 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 17th International Cloud Expo - to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - announces that its Call for Papers is open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Wearable devices have come of age. The primary applications of wearables so far have been "the Quantified Self" or the tracking of one's fitness and health status. We propose the evolution of wearables into social and emotional communication devices. Our BE(tm) sensor uses light to visualize the skin conductance response. Our sensors are very inexpensive and can be massively distributed to audiences or groups of any size, in order to gauge reactions to performances, video, or any kind of presentation. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Jocelyn Scheirer, CEO & Founder of Bionolux, will discuss ho...
The true value of the Internet of Things (IoT) lies not just in the data, but through the services that protect the data, perform the analysis and present findings in a usable way. With many IoT elements rooted in traditional IT components, Big Data and IoT isn’t just a play for enterprise. In fact, the IoT presents SMBs with the prospect of launching entirely new activities and exploring innovative areas. CompTIA research identifies several areas where IoT is expected to have the greatest impact.
Can call centers hang up the phones for good? Intuitive Solutions did. WebRTC enabled this contact center provider to eliminate antiquated telephony and desktop phone infrastructure with a pure web-based solution, allowing them to expand beyond brick-and-mortar confines to a home-based agent model. It also ensured scalability and better service for customers, including MUY! Companies, one of the country's largest franchise restaurant companies with 232 Pizza Hut locations. This is one example of WebRTC adoption today, but the potential is limitless when powered by IoT.
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, described an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device experiences grounded in people's real needs and desires.
Every day we read jaw-dropping stats on the explosion of data. We allocate significant resources to harness and better understand it. We build businesses around it. But we’ve only just begun. For big payoffs in Big Data, CIOs are turning to cognitive computing. Cognitive computing’s ability to securely extract insights, understand natural language, and get smarter each time it’s used is the next, logical step for Big Data.
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
SYS-CON Events announced today that MetraTech, now part of Ericsson, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Ericsson is the driving force behind the Networked Society- a world leader in communications infrastructure, software and services. Some 40% of the world’s mobile traffic runs through networks Ericsson has supplied, serving more than 2.5 billion subscribers.
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
17th Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some form of XaaS – software, platform, and infrastructure as a service.
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal an...
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo, June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be
Container frameworks, such as Docker, provide a variety of benefits, including density of deployment across infrastructure, convenience for application developers to push updates with low operational hand-holding, and a fairly well-defined deployment workflow that can be orchestrated. Container frameworks also enable a DevOps approach to application development by cleanly separating concerns between operations and development teams. But running multi-container, multi-server apps with containers is very hard. You have to learn five new and different technologies and best practices (libswarm, sy...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DragonGlass, an enterprise search platform, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. After eleven years of designing and building custom applications, OpenCrowd has launched DragonGlass, a cloud-based platform that enables the development of search-based applications. These are a new breed of applications that utilize a search index as their backbone for data retrieval. They can easily adapt to new data sets and provide access to both structured and unstruc...
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group, discussed how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, sensors, social, and ...
WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, discussed how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "First Containers & Microservices Conference" will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. The “Second Containers & Microservices Conference” will take place November 3-5, 2015, at Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.