Martes, 26 de Junio de 2012 17:06
EU-LATIN AMERICA RELATIONS: TURNING INVESTMENT INTO OPPORTUNITY
Tuesday, 26 June 2012 – Académie Royale de Belgique – Brussels
Despite the crisis, Europe is increasing its investment in Latin America through its financial institutions and via private capital, reflecting a desire to tap into the region's sustained high growth levels. Latin American countries see Europe’s crisis as an opportunity to deepen trade and seek inclusion in the global political process. “Latin Americawants to be part of the international community and we need to develop a political dialogue around this,” said Pierre Vimont, Executive Secretary General at the European External Action Service.
As Latin America's economies boom, foreign direct investment (FDI) is flowing into the region at an unprecedented pace. With €385 bn. invested across the continent, Europe is the second most important source of FDI in Latin America, after the United States. Latin America’s share of global FDI flows from 5% in 2007 to 10% in 2010. China is a major competitor as an investor in Latin America, but the EU has so far maintained its share of 13-15% of all FDI in Latin America while the United States’ share has decreased from 65% to 35%. The 2013 EU-Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Summit is set to take the relationship further and focus on bilateral investment ties. Europe’s focus is no longer only on natural resources since in order to prosper Latin America needs to add value to these abundant resources.
The two regions increasingly work together and as the signature on Tuesday, 26 June 2012 of the free trade agreement (FTA) between Colombia, Peru and the EU as well as the EU-Central America Association Agreement shows - a growing number of Latin American states are interested in closer cooperation with Europe. “The situation is complementary: Latin American countries want to move up the production value chain, while Europe sees the region as a strategic base for developing innovative products and services,” said Karel De Gucht, EU Commissioner for Trade. Reinforcing this message, José Maria Sanz Magallon, Chief Executive Officer of Telefónica International USAnoted: "We are interested in creating an innovative ecosystem. There is no lack of talent in Latin America, only a lack of resources or capital or the relevant series of technologies."
The European Union has now concluded ten FTAs with the region including the Economic Partnership with Mexico (2000), the FTA with Colombia and Peru (2012) as well as Association Agreements with Chile (2003) and the Central American states Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama (2012).
EU trade with Colombia and Peru was worth € 16bn in 2010 and the European Commission expects the agreement to save EU exporters and importers up to € 400mn annually in tariffs to these two countries. Central America is equally important with bilateral trade relations worth € 12bn in 2010 only second to the United States as well as intra-regional trade.
Fanny de Estrada, Director of Competitiveness of the Guatemalan Association of Exporters (AGEXPORT)added that "for Latin America it is very important to set alliances for technological development in order to generate opportunities to produce quality services and products. Small countries like us need sophisticated markets which value the high quality of our products and the European market is one of them.”
Mario Cimoli, Director of the Division of Production, Productivity and Management of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean underlined that “There is, presently, an asymmetry between the expansionistic economic policy in many Latin American countries and the restrictive economic measures taken at the European Union level. Therefore it will be crucial to find the appropriate equilibrium as far as the foreign direct investment policy is concerned.”
The Policy Summit on EU-Latin America investment relations brought together senior policymakers from the European Commission, members of the national and European Parliaments, business leaders and opinion-formers for a no-holds-barred discussion on prospects for re-thinking EU-Latin American investment relations.
The one day Policy Summit was organised within the AL-Invest Programme¹ to input into the preparations of the 2013 EU-Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Summit and the second public-private dialogue event between the EU and Latin America on “Foreign Direct Investment and SMEs”. The Policy Summit was co-organised by Friends of Europe, EUROCHAMBRES and the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UN ECLAC).
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