Argentina It is driving the arrival in Colombia of its MSMEs from the technology sectorin order to strengthen regional integration and bilateral economic cooperation.
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This was pointed out by Gustavo Alejandro Dzugala, ambassador of that country and who also specified that agribusiness is promoted as one of the most important axes between both States.
As of September, according to the bulletin of foreign trade of the National Administrative Department of Statistics (Dane), Colombia has a trade deficit with Argentina of US$659.4 million, led by imports of US$1,009.7 million.
How is the relationship?
The relationship is very good. Let us bear in mind that today the governments are more ideologically related. Despite some differences, many cooperation projects were generated with the previous government that are being developed now. With the new government we are seeking to continue them and create new ones.
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Among those that are underway is technical cooperation in agricultural matters, specifically in soybeans and corn.
What other sectors do you project?
We are studying the opening of new markets. Among those, on issues of space and satellite development, as well as beginning to explore high technology.
And the business relationship?
The commercial relationship was growing, but not to the extent that I think they can. We are talking about two economies that are more or less at a similar level. We have a trade that can be around $1.2 billion or $1.5 billion, but it could be higher.
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We have prospects for further growth. Here there are many companies that have installed themselves and there are many more that want to do so.
How is the commercial flow?
We have several items to highlight. Exports of yellow corn, the main ones, but also vehicles, especially trucks and transport. There we are trying to talk with the trade authorities to increase the number of trucks within the partial agreement.
Today Colombia has become the fourth destination market for our automobiles.
What other sectors can you highlight?
There is a lot of interest for our agricultural entrepreneurs, one of our main sectors. I insist on settling in and generating local business. There are also companies in the health and pharmaceutical sectors that produce and export from here.
And we have the presence of the Techint Group in its four verticals, being one of the most recent investments in the Ternium plant in Palmar de Varela (Atlántico).
But now the one that demands us the most is the software sector and the creative industries. At this moment we are the first exporter of software.
Five of the main Latin American unicorns, like Mercado Libre, for example, are installed here and delivering large investments to the country.
What do they tell you from this sector?
Most software SMEs want to settle in the country, the big ones already are. It would be good to explore complementarity with its Colombian counterparts to export together. We have to explore it together.
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How is tourism behaving?
Tourism is growing a lot. There is a lot of mutual interest between the countries.
The interest that Colombia arouses in Argentina is incredible, sun and beach tourism increased, which is the most popular in the country.
What is needed to improve integration?
I think that Latin American countries often look more outward than inward. We need a real integration without difficulties. We have mechanisms, but we are missing something, we have to rethink it.
ROBERTO CASAS LUGO