Home > 250 European and Colombian Companies Gather in the Business Matchmaking Forum

250 European and Colombian Companies Gather in the Business Matchmaking Forum

Proexport is holding this forum in Frankfurt and Paris with the intention of providing Colombian entrepreneurs with the opportunity to leverage the free trade agreement that came into force last August for agribusiness, apparel, and manufacturing products.   

The goals of the first Business Matchmaking Forum Proexport Colombia will hold in the European Union are to leverage the advantages of free trade and the business opportunities identified for Colombian products.

Maria Claudia Lacouture, the President of Proexport, reported that the event will take place from October 21st-25th in Germany and France, with an attendance of 250 European and Colombian companies featuring potential products for the agribusiness, apparel, and manufacturing sectors.

“The relevance of this matchmaking forum is linked directly with the potential for Colombia in the European Union. We have identified 818 products with export potential towards this commercial block, one of the top global markets thanks to its 503 million inhabitants and $5.75 billion USD in imports in 2012, ”, stated Lacouture.

The Matchmaking Forum is divided in two sessions. The first one will be held in Frankfurt, Germany on October 22nd with attendance of 68 European buyers representing 59 companies from Germany, Spain, Holland, Poland, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Successively, on October 24th, Colombian entrepreneurs will visit Paris to do business with 115 buyers from 89 companies from Spain, France, Holland, Portugal, and the United Kingdom.

These two sessions will bring together 156 exporters from 104 registered Colombian companies.

According to Proexport, agribusiness products will feature flowers, exotic and tropical fruits, vegetables and produce, aromatic herbs, oils and fats, sugars, honeys and sweeteners, beverages, confectionery, cocoa and coffee derivatives, processed fruits and vegetables, various prepared foodstuffs, baked and flour-mill products, aquaculture products, and snacks.

In terms of manufacturing, Colombian entrepreneurs will showcase cosmetics and related natural ingredients like extracts, essential and fixed oils, dyeing oils, and hotel supplies.

Apparel exporters will showcase leather goods and apparel like jeans, shapewear, sportswear, underwear, children's clothing, household linens, uniforms, shirts, t-shirts, and swimwear.

Cundinamarca is the Colombian region with the largest retinue, with 37 registered companies participating, followed by Antioquia (23), Valle del Cauca (18), Atlantico (6), and Risaralda (4); then Caldas, Magdalena and Santander with 3 companies each, Bolivar is represented by two companies, and Boyaca, Cauca, Cesar, Norte de Santander, and Tolima have a single representative each.

Trade Missions and Investment and Tourism Seminars

Proexport Colombia prepared additional activities in both Germany and France, including trade visits for exporters that will expose entrepreneurs to the key features of the market, allowing them to consider their products and services and make the necessary adjustments to reach target consumers.

Proexport Colombia will also hold activities to promote investment in the country. On Wednesday the 23rd in Frankfurt and Thursday the 24th in Paris, an investment seminar will welcome 60 companies from those countries interested in learning about the opportunities in the Colombian infrastructure sector.

In addition to the presentation by Proexport in Germany, the National Infrastructure Office, the Urban Development Institute of Bogota, and Invest in Bogota will showcase alternatives to attract investors.

In France, the President of Proexport Colombia, Maria Claudia Lacouture, will show the progress in foreign investment in Colombia as part of the office's strategy to increase FDI in the country.

Similarly, about 30 travel agencies will attend a seminar in Paris that will launch the international tourism promotion campaign entitled "Colombia is magical realism", which will be a tool to increase the amount of French travelers into Colombia. According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism and the Immigration Department of Colombia, the country received 38,920 French travelers in national destinations in 2012.

Consumption Trends

According to Proexport, consumption trends in the European Union suggest promising opportunities for Colombian exporters. Sweeteners, for example, are a key ingredient in European cuisine, particularly healthier alternatives like stevia, panela, and honey.

The aquaculture and fishery sector also enjoys good opportunities, as the European Union is the second market in the world after China regarding fish consumption. This can increase Colombian sales in shrimp, fish fillets (tilapia and trout), canned fish, and processed seafood.

Another possible niche is toiletries and cosmetics. According to data from the European Cosmetics Association, more than five million of these products are sold annually in Europe, with Germany, France, and the United Kingdom at the top of the buyers ranking.

Additional niches were identified for hotel supplies, office supplies, home products, and furniture.

Europe has also decreased its domestic production of underwear, a trend that benefits the Colombian industry. The obesity rate of the European population is on the rise, along with the demand for shapewear and clothes that improve physical appearance, which will be exempt from taxes if they comply with regulations of origin.