Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, John Basso, Kevin Benedict

News Feed Item

Latin American Stocks Q&A: An Exclusive Interview with Colombia's Trade Commissioner, Alvaro Concha

Alvaro Concha, Colombia's Trade Commissioner in Canada since 2011 Discusses the Past Three Years Following Anniversary of the Colombia-Canada FTA and Prospects for the Future

NEW YORK and POINT ROBERTS, Wash., Aug. 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Investorideas.com, (www.investorideas.com) a global news source covering leading sectors including Latin American stocks, issues an exclusive Q&A with Alvaro Concha, Proexport Colombia Trade Commissioner in Canada since 2011.

Mr. Concha discusses recent news and events, including an IT forum held in New York in late July, and shares insights into the significance of the anniversary of the Colombia - Canada Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Since the FTA came into effect (August 15, 2011), 434 Colombian companies have exported to Canada for the first time, with the majority coming from manufacturing (41.5 percent), agribusiness (34.8 percent) and apparel (22.8 percent).

According to the government's statistics agency, DANE, Proexport Colombia reported record growth in the two countries' trade relationship, with Colombian exports to Canada increasing by 10.6 percent to reach more than US$107 million for non-mining and non-coffee products.

Alvaro shares first-hand insight and perspective on the success of the past three years and the promising future ahead. 

Interview

Q: Investorideas.com  
Colombia's IT sector is the third largest in Latin America, with technology showing 33 percent growth over the past five years. According to International Data Corporation (IDC), total sales in 2013 for the software and IT sector in Colombia exceeded US$3 billion and it is expected that this figure will double by 2018. Can you break down some of that growth and share some of the contributing factors?  

A: Alvaro Concha, Colombia's Trade Commissioner
Colombia has a very strong and growing IT market. In terms of the launch of the new campaign, "Colombia Bring IT On", led by Proexport Colombia, it showcases the IT industry in Colombia, how well-developed the infrastructure of the IT industry is, the growth of the industry and what Colombia has to offer - not only as a sourcing market - but also an opportunity for joint ventures.  The campaign also showcases the human capital and the qualified workforce that we have. It also gives a better understanding of all of the creative and innovative industries that we have. I think that all of the basics are already established, and it's now time for the companies to come over and start actually building businesses.  IT is a growing industry.  We have over 2500 companies and different technological partners around the country, and the Government, through the Ministry of IT, has a very strong strategy to keep on growing the sector and to put Colombia on the map as one of the key players.

Q: Investorideas.com  
You recently hosted a two-day business matching forum, focused on the technology sector, in New York City on July 23 and 24th. Can you give us a breakdown of the companies participating from North America and Colombia and was there any particular area of technology that seemed to be a dominant theme in the event?

A: Alvaro Concha, Colombia's Trade Commissioner
Let me start by saying the event in New York was a very successful one.  Twenty-two Canadian companies attended the event. They had the opportunity to meet with over 70 Colombian companies, and some of the sectors included software development, tailor-made software, animation, digital animation, web-app developers and some gaming companies. 

Q: Investorideas.com  
You have hosted matchmaking events in the past, typically what kind of results and business dealings do you see materialize from these events?

A: Alvaro Concha, Colombia's Trade Commissioner
The overall comments from not only Colombian companies but also the Canadian and United States companies in attendance were very positive.  They were very happy with the match-making and the quality of the companies that Colombia showcased there.  The feedback from the Colombian companies was also very positive in terms of the quality of the Canadian companies attending the event.   What we guaranteed was the presence from Canadian companies across the country, from different provinces and locations, giving full access to Canada's markets.  We are, as we speak, doing the follow-up on all of the opportunities and businesses ventures that were identified.

Q: Investorideas.com  
Can you give us an idea of some of the big-name tech companies that are setting up in Colombia?

A: Alvaro Concha, Colombia's Trade Commissioner
One of the companies that has established in Colombia in the past year is Pipeline Studios.  Also Atomic Entertainment from Ontario is working and establishing their company in Colombia.

Q: Investorideas.com
Are they using Colombia more as a base for expanding into Latin America?

A: Alvaro Concha, Colombia's Trade Commissioner
The main purpose initially is to actually establish a presence in the country. But once you are in Colombia, and this applies not only to the IT companies, but also to any other company, Colombia is a good export platform for the rest of region. You will be able to take advantage of all the different trade agreements and the possibilities to do trade with the rest of the countries of the region.  Colombia has big trade zones, very competitive ones, and has access and communication with all of the countries of the region.  Being the third-largest economy in Latin America helps and enables Colombia to have a very active role in terms of trade with the  whole region.  So, establishing yourself in Colombia in terms of business, initially as a sourcing product to come back to Canada; that might be the first step.  But obviously, the second and third step is to link with Colombia and reach out from Colombia to the rest of the region. 

Q: Investorideas.com  
Shifting to the anniversary of the Colombia-Canada Free Trade Agreement on Friday, August 15th, it's now three years since the agreement was signed. Can you break down some of the measurable results? What are the sectors driving that growth currently and can you give us some of the highlights within those sectors and do you see that changing in the future?

A: Alvaro Concha, Colombia's Trade Commissioner
Colombian non-mining exports have experienced a positive compounded growth of 6.6 percent between 2010 and 2013.  We have over 425 new companies exporting for the first time in Canada since the FTA came into effect.  We have grown and diversified our portfolio of products. We have experienced some interesting growth. In agri-business, not only concentrating in the exporting of flowers, bananas and fruits but trying to go to different products in the industry. We have also experienced good growths in apparel, manufacturing goods, and also service. The growth for example in apparel, is 48% from August 2011 to June 2014. Leather goods for example, have increased more than 100%. In terms of numbers, it's still low, in terms of amounts of million dollars. But the great thing to see are the percentages and how new products are arriving into the Canadian markets.

Q: Investorideas.com
Where do you see the biggest growth opportunity over the next three years?

A: Alvaro Concha, Colombia's Trade Commissioner
Absolutely, services and IT industry is something that has to be worked more to create more awareness of what Colombia has to offer for Canadian companies. So I see a good growth in those specific sectors.  I also see bilateral trade improvement in cosmetics for example; in auto parts, in pharmaceuticals.  In the manufacturing industry, there's a lot of space for growth.  There's a lot of other products in industries, a lot of other sub-sectors that Colombia can present.  In the world of apparel for example, growth will come specifically in safety-wear and uniforms, not only in lingerie, swimwear and in active wear.

Q: Investorideas.com  
The first quarter of 2014 shows exports from Colombia to Canada have continued to grow, increasing by 158% and in a previous interview you talked about the first quarter GDP for Colombia being second to China in the world . What do you think is attributing to this kind of growth both with Canada and your whole economy?

A: Alvaro Concha, Colombia's Trade Commissioner
The growth in the overall trade is mainly driven by commodities.  Canada, for example, has again been buying green coffee and mineral goods from Colombia.  The growth is also driven by the quality of the products Colombia has, the awareness that Canadians have today of the Colombian companies.  For example, I just returned from a fashion show in Medellin two weeks ago, where prior to the FTA, we would never have had such a vast presence of foreign companies. Two weeks ago, I took 30 companies to Medellin; so it's growing in terms of curiosity in the market of what Colombia has to offer. That has caused Canadian companies to consider travelling to our country and understanding first-hand what we are capable of. 

Q: Investorideas.com  
Do you think your free trade agreement paved the path for other countries to enter free trade agreements with Colombia and what makes the Canadian - Colombia agreement so workable for both countries?

A: Alvaro Concha, Colombia's Trade Commissioner
Colombia has put together a strategy a couple of years ago to have better and more preferential access to the potential markets.  This is a strategy Colombia has been expediting for quite a while now.  The FTA with Canada was significant as the first country as a G8 member to sign an FTA with Colombia. That helped not only to improve our competitiveness, but also, after the Canadian FTA was put in effect, it helped push the United States to also sign the FTA with Colombia. I think that Colombia has inserted itself in the international markets very well.  At the beginning of 2000, Colombia had preferential access to not even 500 million consumers; now we have over 1.5 billion consumers with preferential access.  Thanks to the FTA strategy, the Government is considering and studying other FTA's with Asian markets.

Q: Investorideas.com  
There was talk at one time about Canada opening a discussion about joining the Pacific Alliance. Is there any update on that and can you tell our readers the current members and what other countries are looking at joining?

A: Alvaro Concha, Colombia's Trade Commissioner
Canada has not stated it has considered joining as an active member but is an observer.  There are more than 20 countries that are actually observers.  Costa Rica and Panama are very close to becoming full members of the Pacific Alliance. We are going to host seminars this fall to talk about the Pacific Alliance in Montreal and in Vancouver.  We are going to have the four ambassadors of the main members; Mexico, Peru, Chile and Colombia. The four ambassadors will be talking with the companies and the community in October and November.

Q: Investorideas.com  
Free trade; freedom of movement of goods and people is also a key element of the Pacific Alliance. How much of a role were Free Trade Agreements with the various countries to your overall growth in the past years?

A: Alvaro Concha, Colombia's Trade Commissioner
The Free Trade Agreement not only increased our competitiveness but it's the best way to have  preferential access to potential markets.  We are looking every single day in all the markets that we have an FTA with, as to how we should be increasing our trade, the other potential markets or sectors or products we could be increasing our trade with. I do believe that FTA's have helped our trade to grow, and the numbers are showing that.  The overall exports, the overall trade in Colombia is growing at a good pace. 

Q: Investorideas.com  
In closing, you have been Colombia's Trade Commissioner in Canada since 2011. So, from your perspective, what do you think is the most significant milestone and achievement over the past three years with the Colombia-Canada Free Trade Agreement? 

A: Alvaro Concha, Colombia's Trade Commissioner
I think that services is one.  Second is letting people understand that Colombia has more than agri-business; that we're more than flowers. We take international commitments very seriously and Colombia is a very strong and key player in the region.  We want to do things not only in a very responsible way to our community, but also in terms of environmental issues.

We have been creating more and more awareness, not only in Toronto but in all of Canada.  That's why we have a base in Montreal and Vancouver, so we can spread out our opportunities. 

And the third notable achievement is tourism.  When Colombia presented itself to Canada and the world a couple of years ago; nobody wanted to know anything about our country. Nobody wanted to get close to Colombia and now that Colombia has marketed and changed the perception, there are a lot of people wanting to see what is going on here. There are a lot of visitors wanting to see this country and when they are here they understand that Colombia is now a safe country. And business visitors see that Colombia is a very key player in the terms of economy and a key partner for Canada.

ALVARO CONCHA
Alvaro Concha, Colombia's Trade Commissioner in Canada since 2011, is an experienced professional with over 15 years' experience in global business and market-development strategies. As head of the Canadian offices of Proexport Colombia - the country's investment, tourism and export promotion agency - Mr. Concha has worked tirelessly to strengthen Colombia's trade relationship with Canada. Mr. Concha's leadership has resulted in a significant increase in Colombian exports to Canada, the securing of a new roster of important Canadian investors in Colombia, and a surge in the number of Canadian tourists visiting Colombia.

Before being appointed to Canada, Mr. Concha worked as Colombia's trade commissioner in Italy and headed the joint Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador office headquartered in Guatemala City. Throughout his career in Proexport Colombia, his goal has remained the same: to bring prosperity to all Colombians by bringing the best of Colombia to the rest of the world.

Mr. Concha holds a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from EAFIT University in Medellin, Colombia, and an MBA from the EEN - Escuela Europea de Negocios in Madrid, Spain.

About Proexport Colombia  http://www.proexport.com.co/en
Proexport provides business opportunities, clear information on requirements, strategies for expanding services and goods at an international level, participation in business fairs and assistance by experts for investors, exporters, and professionals that wish to come closer to their dreams.

About InvestorIdeas.com:
InvestorIdeas.com is a global news source for investors following leading business sectors including biotech, tech, mining, mobile, energy, water, defense and security, renewable energy, food and beverage stocks and Latin American stocks.

Follow Investorideas.com on Twitter http://twitter.com/Investorideas
Follow Investorideas.com on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/Investorideas

Sign up for our free news alerts
http://www.investorideas.com/Resources/Newsletter.asp

Become an Investorideas.com Member and use our online stock directories to research stocks – including biometric and mobile payment stocks http://www.investorideas.com/membership/

Disclaimer/ Disclosure: The Investorideas.com newswire is a third party publisher of news and research as well as creates original content as a news source. Original content created by investorideas is protected by copyright laws other than syndication rights. Investorideas is a news source on Google news and Linkedintoday plus hundreds of syndication partners. Our site does not make recommendations for purchases or sale of stocks or products. Nothing on our sites should be construed as an offer or solicitation to buy or sell products or securities. All investment involves risk and possible loss of investment. This site is currently compensated by featured companies, news submissions, content marketing and online advertising. Contact each company directly for press release questions. Disclosure is posted on each release if required but otherwise the news was not compensated for and is published for the sole interest of our readers. More disclaimer info: http://www.investorideas.com/About/Disclaimer.asp
BC Residents and Investor Disclaimer : Effective September 15 2008 - all BC investors should review all OTC and Pink sheet listed companies for adherence in new disclosure filings and filing appropriate documents with Sedar. Read for more info: http://www.bcsc.bc.ca/release.aspx?id=6894. Global investors must adhere to regulations of each country.

800-665-0411  

SOURCE Investorideas.com

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Early adopters of IoT viewed it mainly as a different term for machine-to-machine connectivity or M2M. This is understandable since a prerequisite for any IoT solution is the ability to collect and aggregate device data, which is most often presented in a dashboard. The problem is that viewing data in a dashboard requires a human to interpret the results and take manual action, which doesn’t scale to the needs of IoT.
Internet of @ThingsExpo has announced today that Chris Matthieu has been named tech chair of Internet of @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 6thInternet of @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Much of IT terminology is often misused and misapplied. Modernization and transformation are two such terms. They are often used interchangeably even though they mean different things and have very different connotations. Indeed, it is somewhat safe to assume that in IT any transformative effort is likely to also have a modernizing effect, and thus, we can see these as levels of improvement efforts. However, many businesses are being led to believe if they don’t transform now they risk becoming ...
CenturyLink has announced that application server solutions from GENBAND are now available as part of CenturyLink’s Networx contracts. The General Services Administration (GSA)’s Networx program includes the largest telecommunications contract vehicles ever awarded by the federal government. CenturyLink recently secured an extension through spring 2020 of its offerings available to federal government agencies via GSA’s Networx Universal and Enterprise contracts. GENBAND’s EXPERiUS™ Application...
What does it look like when you have access to cloud infrastructure and platform under the same roof? Let’s talk about the different layers of Technology as a Service: who cares, what runs where, and how does it all fit together. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Lead Technology Evangelist at SoftLayer, an IBM company, spoke about the picture being painted by IBM Cloud and how the tools being crafted can help fill the gaps in your IT infrastructure.
SYS-CON Events announced today the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp, being held November 1-2, 2016, in conjunction with 19th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but with hands-on demos and detailed walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of real world use cases prototyped using Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, Spark, and Intel Edison. Y...
SYS-CON Events announced today that LeaseWeb USA, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting brands. The company helps customers define, develop and deploy IT infrastructure tailored to their exact business needs, by combining various kinds cloud solutions.
The best-practices for building IoT applications with Go Code that attendees can use to build their own IoT applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Indraneel Mitra, Senior Solutions Architect & Technology Evangelist at Cognizant, provided valuable information and resources for both novice and experienced developers on how to get started with IoT and Golang in a day. He also provided information on how to use Intel Arduino Kit, Go Robotics API and AWS IoT stack to build an application tha...
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
It’s 2016: buildings are smart, connected and the IoT is fundamentally altering how control and operating systems work and speak to each other. Platforms across the enterprise are networked via inexpensive sensors to collect massive amounts of data for analytics, information management, and insights that can be used to continuously improve operations. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Chemel, Co-Founder and CTO of Digital Lumens, will explore: The benefits sensor-networked systems bring to ...
Identity is in everything and customers are looking to their providers to ensure the security of their identities, transactions and data. With the increased reliance on cloud-based services, service providers must build security and trust into their offerings, adding value to customers and improving the user experience. Making identity, security and privacy easy for customers provides a unique advantage over the competition.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Venafi, the Immune System for the Internet™ and the leading provider of Next Generation Trust Protection, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Venafi is the Immune System for the Internet™ that protects the foundation of all cybersecurity – cryptographic keys and digital certificates – so they can’t be misused by bad guys in attacks...
"Tintri was started in 2008 with the express purpose of building a storage appliance that is ideal for virtualized environments. We support a lot of different hypervisor platforms from VMware to OpenStack to Hyper-V," explained Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Is your aging software platform suffering from technical debt while the market changes and demands new solutions at a faster clip? It’s a bold move, but you might consider walking away from your core platform and starting fresh. ReadyTalk did exactly that. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, will discuss why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and over a decade of audio conferencing product development to start an innovati...
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
Large scale deployments present unique planning challenges, system commissioning hurdles between IT and OT and demand careful system hand-off orchestration. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Smith, Senior Director and a founding member of Incenergy, will discuss some of the key tactics to ensure delivery success based on his experience of the last two years deploying Industrial IoT systems across four continents.
There will be new vendors providing applications, middleware, and connected devices to support the thriving IoT ecosystem. This essentially means that electronic device manufacturers will also be in the software business. Many will be new to building embedded software or robust software. This creates an increased importance on software quality, particularly within the Industrial Internet of Things where business-critical applications are becoming dependent on products controlled by software. Qua...
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 19th Cloud Expo and 6th @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Interne...
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develo...