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Brussels, 16 May 2012

Antonio Tajani: Enhancing business cooperation between SMEs in Colombia and the EU

European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani together with European CEOs from all main industrial sectors will visit the Republic of Colombia on 16 and 17 May. Coming from similar visits to the United States and Mexico, this mission aims at fostering industrial cooperation and business relation with Colombia. In particular Vice President Tajani will sign a letter of intent to help SMEs both from Colombia and the EU to better profit from the opportunities offered by globalisation. He will also sign a letter of intention to take actions to facilitate tourism flows between the EU and Colombia by promoting travel in particular in the respective low seasons. The EU delegation consists of representatives of European companies, industrial sector associations and horizontal business associations incorporating each a large number of industrial sectors (see list below).

Vice President Antonio Tajani, responsible for Industry and Enterprises, said: Major non-EU markets with strong growth rates represent significant opportunities for EU small enterprises, Europe's main economic strength. We are here, to help EU SMEs to invest in Colombia and Colombian SMEs to invest in Europe. Thus we will assist both the EU and Colombia to grow and to create new jobs.”

This mission is part of the new series of "Missions for Growth" to help European enterprises, in particular small and medium sized enterprises to better profit from fast growing emerging international markets.

The visit will focus on high-level political meetings in Colombia during which Vice President Antonio Tajani will sign letters of intent to improve industrial cooperation and SME promotion as well as to take actions to facilitate tourism flows between the EU and Colombia by optimising the use of available spare airline and accommodation capacity thus benefitting the local economy of the host destinations.

VP Tajani will also sign letters of intent to open policy dialogues on:

  • Raw materials as the extractive industries of both sides play a key role in the supply of these materials. The competitiveness of these sectors is a crucial factor in reducing vulnerability of industry in both regions by making supply of these materials more secure.

  • Space partnership and cooperation between the EU and Colombia in areas, such as Earth Observation, Earth Science and Global Navigation Satellite Systems.

VP Tajani will also inaugurate the EU–COLOMBIA business-to-business Event, during which a series of business to business meetings will be organized. On this occasion EU entrepreneurs will describe their profile and manifest their interest in order to be matched up with Colombia business representatives.


The Frameworks for relations between the European Union and the Republic of Colombia include the Framework Cooperation Agreement between the Andean Community and the European Community1 signed in 1993 (and in force since 1998), and the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement of 20032.

Colombia's economy

Colombia's economy has experienced positive growth over the past thirty years. With an average growth of 3% over the last thirty years, Colombia has experienced strong steady growth thanks to its market size with 45 million people and thanks to its vast natural resources (crude oil, emeralds, coffee, coal, gas, gold, nickel). In 2012 the economy is expected to grow 4-5%. The economy continues to improve in part because of austere government budgets, focused efforts to reduce public debt levels, an export-oriented growth strategy, an improved security situation in the country, and high commodity prices.

The country is accelerating structural reforms to prepare for accession to the OECD and to encourage foreign investment further (FDI). Favoured by an attractive legal framework FDI grew significantly from 2000 million $ in 2002 to 7,000 million $ in 2009. Development projects in key sectors such as hydrocarbons and mining are the most popular areas for foreign investors.

Foreign trade accounts for approximately 20% of GDP. Colombia wants to accelerate its integration into world trade (through regional integration in the Andean Community of Nations, the agreement with Chile, the multiparty free trade agreement between the EU and Colombia / Peru - text adopted at the Madrid Summit on 18 May 2010, pending approval by Parliament).

GDP (International Monetary Fund (IMF) 2011): $467.6 billion. Per capita GDP: $10,155.

Industry (14.4% of GDP): Types--textiles, garments, footwear, chemicals, metal products, cement, plastic resins and manufactures, beverages, wood products, pharmaceuticals, machinery, electrical equipment.

Agriculture (7.1% of GDP): Products--coffee, bananas, cut flowers, cotton, sugarcane, livestock, rice, shrimp, tobacco, vegetables, corn, potatoes, soybeans, sorghum, cocoa beans, oilseed.

Services (46% of GDP): Government services, financial services, commerce, transportation and communication, construction and public works, utilities.

Mining (7.8% of GDP): Main products - crude oil, coal, gas, gold, nickel.

Trade: Exports (2011 est.) $61 billion: petroleum, coffee, coal, nickel, emeralds, apparel, bananas, and cut flowers.

Major markets: United States, European Union, China, and Ecuador.

Imports: $41 billion: machinery/equipment, grains, chemicals, transportation equipment, mineral products, consumer products, paper products, oil and gas industry equipment, and electricity. EU exports to Andean countries consist mostly of manufactured goods (81.5%), notably machinery and transport equipment (46.5%) and chemical products (13.8%).

EU imports from Andean countries are predominantly primary products: agricultural products (41.1%); fuels and mining products (44.7%).

Major suppliers: United States, China, Mexico, Brazil, and Germany.3

Andean countries (Colombia/Peru/Bolivia/Ecuador) - Trade priorities

Trade in goods

  • EU goods exports to the Andean Community in 2010: €7.9 billion

  • EU goods imports from the Andean Community in 2010: €12.2 billion

The EU is the second largest trading partner of the Andean region after the US. In 2010, the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) represented 0.7% of the EU's world trade whereas the EU totaled 14% of CAN's trade (2009). In 2010, The EU grants the Andean countries preferential access to its market under the EU's General System of Preferences (special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance, known as GSP+).

The EU and Colombia have also concluded a trade agreement which is expected to enter into force by the end of 2012. This agreement will notably foresee the complete elimination of tariffs on industrial and fishery products on both sides which should result in European exporters saving at least € 250 million annually in tariffs.

Business Delegation to Colombia

The delegation is composed of representatives of 19 European companies, 1 industrial association and 1 horizontal business association incorporating each a large number of industrial sectors. The delegation is composed of CEOs and industry representatives from 8 Member States.

The companies present in the delegation represent more or less 302878 employees and approximately €151.33 billion in turnover. The business federation present in the delegation represent more or less 570.000 of employees and approximately €95.5 billion in turnover.

Cumulated GDP of Eurochambres 45 member country is €17 trillion which is approximately 32% of world GDP and the total employees in member companies are approximately 120 million.

Gospodjinački Marko, Member of the Governing Board of EREC and President, ESHA

The European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) is the umbrella organisation of the European renewable energy industry, trade and research associations active in the sectors of photovoltaics, small hydropower, solar thermal, bioenergy, geothermal, concentrated solar power and wind energy.

The European Small Hydropower Association (ESHA) represents the interest of the hydropower sector by promoting the benefits and opportunities of hydropower at EU level. 20 EU associations are members of ESHA.

Guerrini Simone Senior Vice President International Affairs, and Tarantelli Valter FINMECCANICA

Finmeccanica is Italy’s leading industrial group in the high technology sector and ranks among the top ten global players in aerospace, defence and security.

Jimenez Sanudo Jorge, ICEACSA

ICEACSA brings together a multidisciplinary group of professionals to address the widest range of consulting services in civil engineering, studies and construction management of highways, railways, urbanism, bridges, among others.

Lladro Rosa, CEO, LLADRO, Board Member ECCIA

Lladró is a Valencian Spanish company based in Tavernes Blanques, that produces high quality porcelain figurines.

Luque Santiago, Vice President Latin America, Proprietary Pharmaceuticals, ABBOTT

Abbott is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to discovering new medicines, new technologies and new ways to manage health.

Adriana Lozano Calderon, INTEINCO,

Technical assistance and Quality Control: construction, industrial and environment

Fernandez Leandro (CEO), LUSO BASTO SERVICES

Provider agile and HR services

Melchiotti Nicola, Manager ENEL GREEN POWER

Enel Green Power, is dedicated to developing and managing energy generation from renewable sources at an international level, with a presence in Europe and the American continent.

Menassi Giuliano, PIRELLI, Country Manager Mexico

Today Pirelli counts 22 tyre industrial plants, in four continents, operating through a widespread sales network in over 160 countries around the world.

Palacios-Tovar Alejandro, Executive Director, CONTTIGO

Conttigo consulting & services is offering a comprehensive consulting service enabling companies to undertake activities of internationalization.

Piepsz, Olivier, Senior Vice-president Latin America, SAFRAN

Safran is a leading international high-technology group with three core businesses: Aerospace (propulsion and equipment), Defence and Security.

Schoch Pedro J., New Markets and Institutional Relations Director, GMV

GMV is a global engineering and consulting firm headquartered in Madrid with subsidiaries in Germany, Poland, Portugal, USA and Malaysia in several markets including Aeronautics, Space, Defense, Security, Healthcare, Transportation and IT.

Selinger Felix, CEO, Ormazabal

Ormazabal is one of the leading manufacturers of Medium Voltage equipment worldwide which provides customers with solutions for electrical distribution networks, based on high added-value products and services.

Serra Joaquin, Senior Vice-President Institutional Relations, NATURA BISSE, Board Member ECCIA

Natura Bissé has been a leader in innovation and development of facial and body cosmetics whose formulations are able to allow the maximum concentrations of highly efficient ingredients and new textures.

Valla Valerio, Studio VALLA

Studio Valla has been operating since 1999 providing advisory to business and public administration and services aimed at financing investments and development of project ideas.

Van Marcke Peter, Member of the Board, VAN MARCKE Group

Van Marcke is a specialized wholesaler and distributor of domestic products linked to water, heating and ventilation.

Zakrecki Janusz, CEO, Polskie Zakłady Lotnicze Sp. z o.o. – PZL Mielec A Sikorsky Aircraft Company

Polskie Zakłady Lotnicze Sp. z o.o. – PZL Mielec A Sikorsky Aircraft Company  is the biggest Polish manufacturer of aircraft, currently expanding its production profile to include aerostructures and helicopters.


BBVA is a global group that offers individual and corporate customers the most complete range of financial and non-financial products and services.

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Source: US department of State

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