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PDVSA, World Cup, Cartagena

Mercosur advances to the quarter finals, PDVSA continues to delay annual report.

Venezuelan state oil giant PDVSA has still not released its 2009 annual report. By comparison, both Pemex of Mexico and Petrobras of Brazil did so in March. Last year, PDVSA released its annual report on June 7 and in 2008 it was released in March. Meanwhile, Venezuelan newspaper El Universal reported last week that a preliminary report showed that revenues fell 42 percent last year to $72.9 billion, while profits declined 35 percent to $6.1 billion. If the revenue number is correct, it would make PDVSA Latin America’s third-largest company behind Petrobras and Pemex, according to a comparison with the Latin 500 - the ranking of
Latin America's Top 500 Companies from Latin Business Chronicle and Latin Trade.

The Mercosur trade group may not be the most successful one when it comes to trade integration, but it has achived strong success when it comes to soccer.  For the first time ever, all four members of the Mercosur have qualified to the quarter finals of the World Cup, which will be played on July 2 and 3. Among those cheering the teams on: R. Viswanathan, India's ambassador to Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay and a former diplomat in Brazil. The quarterfinals with Mercosur teams was his first wish going in. His second wish? "It should be a Mercosur final on July 11," he says.

Does a country really need a brand? Panamanian commerce minister Roberto Henriquez doesn’t think so. “A country brand is just that,” he told the Business Future of the Americas conference organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Peru last week. “What’s the country brand of the United States? I don’t know. But the United States [is still successful in attracting investments]." What really counts, Henriquez said, was the business climate, and he pointed to the top spot Panama won on the 2010 Latin Business Index from Latin Business Chronicle and other major rankings such as The World Bank’s Doing business survey. Panama’s airline links and business and visa regulations were the reason Caterpillar decided to move a major regional center there from Miami, Caterpillar Chairman and CEO Jim Owens told the Business Future of the Americas event.

Colombian port city
Cartagena is increasingly becoming the top choice for events and conferences.  Last year it managed to host as many meetings as New York, according to Colombian officials This year, major events included the World Economic Forum in April. Next year, the Business Future of the Americas will be held there. Now, international hotel chains are taking note. UK-based IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) announced recently that it had signed an agreement with Colombia-based Espacios Urbanos S.A. to manage a 280-room InterContinental brand hotel scheduled to open in early 2013.


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