The Colombian-British Chamber of Commerce (Britcham Colombia) announced the election of Santiago Uribe as the entity’s new executive director. Regarding this appointment, Jaime González Moore, president of the board of directors, and Uribe spoke with LR about the commercial activity between Colombia and the United Kingdom.
According to González, binational relations between the two countries are going through a period of prosperity, explained by the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union. After Brexit, this nation is looking towards Colombia and Latin America, since, according to the manager, it is the third largest investor in the country.
“Between 2002 and 2021, the United Kingdom accumulates investment for more than US$22.6 billion and in recent years large projects have emerged to be developed in various economic sectors, making these relationships stronger,” González said.
The main products that are exported to the United Kingdom are bananas, coal, coffee, flowers and coal. On the other hand, the products brought to Colombia from the European country are ethyl alcohol, medicines, automobiles, screens and laboratory equipment.
Regarding exports, González stated that last year the products that left Colombia for the United Kingdom grew 19.62%, if the immediately previous year is taken as a reference. The value of the products was US$451 million. Imports also had an increase of 15.87% and resulted in a commercial value of US$511 million.
“The outlook is quite promising considering that, under these figures in 2021, the United Kingdom was the sixth largest foreign investor in Colombia, with a total investment of more than US$1,024 million. The growth potential is very great in many sectors of the economy,” González said.
After the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union, the tariff preferences and the free trade agreement (FTA) between Colombia and this region of Europe were maintained. At this time, the trade of the two countries has been maintained as well as the double taxation agreement and investment protection.
“They are all very valuable tools to increase trade, investment, as well as cultural exchange. We are also working on the issue of making the visa for Colombians more flexible, which will be of great help to unite the two nations even more,” González said.
Uribe affirmed that, as the new director of the entity, he believes in the good moment of binational relations and assures that there is potential for the Colombian-British business network in the country: the countries have knowledge and innovation to develop businesses. Regarding the challenges when assuming the leadership of the entity, Uribe said that “the first would be to increase the number of affiliates, the more affiliates we have with this same vision, we will have a much stronger community to develop together. The second, the strengthening of the Chamber’s services so that they are increasingly innovative and support the business visions of our members; and the third, the development of creative events that allow the generation of connections between the different participants with creative agendas and at the forefront of issues of relevance at a national and international level”.
With regard to the change of government this year, the director assured that regardless of the candidate who reaches the House of Nariño, growth will continue to be a constant. Uribe believes that Colombia has export potential in the agribusiness sector that can be developed in the next four years.
The director also maintains optimism regarding the development of investment projects in infrastructure, clean energy and sustainability.
“We also see great potential in terms of exporting services, fintech, and entrepreneurship. The Chamber will continue to support our affiliates and the Colombian-British business community to develop their businesses and identify new opportunities”, Uribe said about his management plan.
The progress made by the previous administration
The Colombian-British Chamber of Commerce assured that the previous administration of Michael Phillips made progress in positioning the entity in different interest groups through virtual events that served for a “high-level” relationship. There were also alliances with private and public entities despite the difficult context left by the pandemic. The entity assures that one of the remains will be to maintain the chamber’s portfolio of services for its members, in addition to betting on digitization.