Foreign multinationals are upbeat on Colombia despite challenges that include lagging infrastructure.
BY JOACHIM BAMRUD
Despite continued delays in U.S. congressional approval of the long-awaited U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement and uncertainty about whether President Alvaro Uribe will – and can – run for re-election in May, foreign multinationals remain upbeat about Colombia’s business outlook.
A Latin Business Chronicle survey of seven foreign firms that do business in Colombia reveals strong optimism, with few seeing the political uncertainty as a challenge. Rather, issues like Colombia’s still-lagging infrastructure is widely seen as the key challenge facing foreign companies.
The companies represent a wide range of sectors, spanning accounting, beverage, consumer products, energy, law, technology and travel.
“It is one of my favorite markets,” says Jesus Maximoff, Latin America general manager for U.S. chip giant Intel. “They have an excellent government.”
Mauricio Nicholls, general manager for the Caribbean, Central America and Andean regions for Chevron Products Company, is also positive on Colombia. ”Historically, it is a country which has provided growth and adequate returns on investment, and we believe that 2010 will be no different,” he says. “The Colombian government is committed to maintaining a very stable fiscal and regulatory environment that is required to attract large foreign investments.”
Matthew Wyatt, director of finance transformation for Latin America for UK-based brewing giant SABMiller, is also upbeat. “Overall, the economy...
Keywords: Challenges, Infrastructure, Labor, Location, Security, US Free Trade Agreement
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