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Colombia Explores Trading Opportunities on Eastern Europe

Through seminars in Warsaw, Prague and Budapest, Proexport presented the trading and investment opportunities that the country offers

At least 230 entrepreneurs from Poland, Hungary and Czech Republic participated in the investment and trading promotion seminars where Proexport participated in those countries to present the business opportunities Colombia has to offer.

The reasons why Colombia is an appealing destination for foreign investment were explained in the seminars. Proexport also identified potential for infrastructure, mining, medical supplies, renewable energies and agroindustry.

These are rather uncommon, but economically appealing markets, as they gather 58 million of potential consumers. In Poland, Hungary and Czech Republic, the private sector accounts for more than 80% of the national GDP and  residents with high purchasing power (from US$ 13,000 and US $17,000), which reflects their willingness to pay for added value and quality products.

Seminars in Warsaw, Budapest and Prague for investors and entrepreneurs became the lobby to present at the European Union the advantages of the trading agreement that will soon enter into force. 

Poland, an Economic Giant

In Warsaw, the event was organized with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Relations of Poland, Invest in Poland, the Poland Business Association, Lewiatan and the Colombian Embassy in Poland.

75 entrepreneurs were exposed to the trading opportunities, on the verge of the entrepreneurial mission that will visit Colombia from on November 26 and 27. Poland is the sixth largest economy of the European Union, after Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy and Spain.

According to Proexport, tourism is also a sector where benefits may be obtained, as travellers from this country are looking for exotic destinations, especially those related to nature. Euromonitor International estimates that by 2014, the number of tourists from Poland travelling abroad will exceed 8 million, nearly one million more vis-à-vis the figure reported in 2011.

Since the population in Poland is aging and has increased awareness about health, there are opportunities for exporters of preservative-free fresh fruits and vegetables, and vitamin and dietary supplement products.

On the other hand, the demand for cosmetics, personal care products and perfumes has been promoted, in addition to ready-to-eat food, given the prominent growth of single-person homes, mainly young, single persons, whose lifestyle demand this type of products.

Prague, a Place to be Discovered

A total of 40 persons represented the 22 companies that participated in the seminar held at the International Chamber of Commerce of Prague, where investment opportunities in Colombia were presented.

So far, possible opportunities have been identified for Colombia in farming machinery and tractors, radars and ultrasound equipment at the Czech Republic.

Although this is a country with a little more than 10 million residents, the industry is still one of the main economic activities, specially the manufacturing of vehicles, machinery and technical instruments.

In the last decade, Czechs have noticed an increase in their purchasing power and have changed their consumption trends towards more sophisticated products. According to Proexport, opportunities are focused towards products with new flavors, such as sauces with exotic ingredients, ready-to-eat food and other food preparations. As to clothing, the products most commonly demanded include footwear and casual wear with high added value in terms of design.

Budapest is also on the Radar

Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is the eighth city of the European Union in terms of size, which may imply significant possibilities to strengthen trading relations.

With the support of the Chamber of Industry and Trade, the Latin-American Economic Forum of the Danube event was carried out in Budapest, which gathered nearly 116 companies from Hungary identified as potential investors.

The event was the continuation of the session organized by the Chamber of Commerce of Austria in May, in Vienna, where Proexport participated with a presentation and a promotion stand.

The summons served to identify market opportunities for medical supplies and renewable energies.

The consumption trends observed in Hungary refer to farming and agro-industrial products, as forecasts indicate a progressive annual reduction of 10% in the rural population of the country.

More than 70% of residents in Hungary live in cities and demand all types of food and agricultural products. However, the high rate of migration from the countryside to the city leads to shortages on the demand for food and agricultural products and, therefore, the Colombian agro-industrial sector could have positive export perspectives.

Furthermore, Hungary is a renowned tourism destination for the elderly who look for health treatments, spas and access to thermal waters. This makes it ideal for the chemical and general health sector.