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China and Colombia Strengthen Ties Print E-mail
by Tom McGregor    Fri, Sep 19, 2014, 02:05 am

BEIJING: President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia has made significant achievements to combat corruption in his country. The nation, formerly recognized as the haven for cocaine drug lords and Leftist guerilla militants, is transforming into a more stable country with strong economic growth rates.

In an exclusive interview with the Dallas Blog, Juan Abisambra, a Beijing-based business consultant for JCR Consulting, explained how Colombia has attracted more attention from potential Chinese investors while more Colombian companies are seeking to expand here in China.

"There's a big trend for many Latin American companies to come to China," said Abisambra. "They are looking to have a presence in China and they hold on to some high expectations."

He added, "Right now, many Latin American investors hoping to expand globally have recognized that the United States appears on the decline while the European Union is just history. As the world economy continues to show slow economic growth rates, China is the only 'hope' remaining."

China's economy continues to enjoy remarkable development, which offers greater opportunities for Colombian-based companies to export their goods and services to the world's second largest economy. Latin American businesses see China as the new land of opportunity.

Meanwhile, the Colombian government in Bogota has implemented new policies to crack down on corruption and pursue a more sustainable economy.

"Colombia is finally completing some major public infrastructure projects in the country. To be honest, that's never really happened before," said Abisambra. "Historically, corruption was so rampant."

He added, "But now, Bogota changed the entire system to usher in transparency. In the past, the government would finance a project, such as a bridge, and then developers would sign a deal and after receiving the funds, they often vanished. But now, developers are required to finance infrastructure projects on their own, the government would guarantee them a fixed rate of return on their investments, but only after the project gets completed as scheduled and would meet specified requirements."

Abisambra believes that this new way of doing business in Colombia can entice major developers from China to come to his country. "The one thing China is good at is doing big infrastructure projects," he said. "They're really good at building roads and fast trains. These same builders should consider going to my native country to do the same there."

Colombia also holds vast reserves of oil & gas, which could mean more robust opportunities for energy companies as well.

In another point, Abisambra wanted to emphasize that Colombia is not the same as their neighbor, Venezuela. "Colombians are traditional and conservative by nature. 99 percent of us are devout Roman Catholics. We do not support the socialist regime of Venezuela. We despised the late President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela," Abisambro said.

"In other words, we would like the readers of the Dallas Blog to know, we Colombians are sincere supporters of free market economy," Abisambra said.

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