The directors of the Colombian American Chamber of Commerce (Amcham) and the investment promotion agency, Invest in Bogota, discussed the advantages the Colombian capital has to take a lead in the economic and commercial situation of the world. E-commerce and the relocation of offshore operations of American companies appear as some of the main opportunities.
Factors such as the current pandemic, the reconfiguration of global value chains and the growth of electronic commerce have generated new commercial and investment opportunities between Colombia, especially Bogota, and the United States. This was highlighted by Maria Claudia Lacouture, Executive Director of the Colombian American Chamber of Commerce (Amcham Colombia), and Juan Gabriel Perez, Executive Director of Invest in Bogota.
During the first edition of #BogotaBigIdeasTalks, a space for conversation to address business, investment and entrepreneurship issues, Lacouture and Pérez agreed that Bogota should take advantage of the current situation to strengthen its relationship with the US market, especially through regional chains of value, e-commerce and value-added manufacturing.
The value of proximity
The strategic location of Bogota to connect with the United States market appears as an opportunity for the Colombian capital to become a Latin American leader within regional value chains, an increasingly relevant strategy for international companies to segment their production to serve more efficiently the different markets in which they have presence.
“Although global value chains are not going to disappear, companies are looking for closer markets to reduce delivery times, have logistics efficiency and dispatch certainty,” Lacouture said.
The Bogota air terminal stands out as the number one with the largest cargo movement and third in passenger traffic in Latin America. “Besides that, the city has a strategic location in the center of the continent, –5 hours by plane from New York, Mexico City and Sao Paulo– and excellent air connectivity, factors that have led different companies to make the city their center for regional operations”, according to Perez.
Latin American hub of e-commerce operations
The growth of electronic commerce operations in the world, and the weight that the US market has on the global volume of this business, make this appear as a great opportunity for business development and attracting investment to Bogota.
“Our big goal is for Bogota to become the regional hub for electronic commerce. To make this a reality, we have the challenge of attracting large US companies so they get to know the benefits of investing and the competitive advantages of the city”, added Perez.
A recent study by GDP Global and Invest in Bogota highlights that the capital of Colombia has the potential to stand out in the coming years in sectors with high added value such as electrical devices, energy technology, circular economy and aerospace parts and components.
Similarly, according to Lacouture, “Colombia has an opportunity in the so-called intermediate goods -such as wood, plastic, industrial tools or latex- because the tariff is zero and we can receive that raw material, transform it into industries that we already have today and take it to The United States efficiently”.
In addition to the benefits in terms of taxes, Bogota and Colombia have two strengths: qualified human capital and competitive labor costs, to boost their regional position in the development of value-added manufacturing.
See the details of this talk, which covered topics such as opportunities for entrepreneurship and the possible effect of the US elections on business, at the Invest in Bogota YouTube channel