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Cablegate: Colombia Hosts Chinese-Latin Business Summit

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD PREL EINV CO CH
SUBJECT: COLOMBIA HOSTS CHINESE-LATIN BUSINESS SUMMIT

REF: BOGOTA 3359

1. (U) SUMMARY. Colombia hosted the third Chinese-Latin American
Business Summit November 25-26. Approximately 250 Chinese and
twice as many Latin American businesspeople attended the gathering.
The GOC hopes such events will increase Chinese investment in
Colombia, and President Uribe used the occasion to publicly call on
China to support Colombia's entry into APEC. END SUMMARY.

INCREASING ACTIVITY WITH ASIA THROUGH PERSONAL CONTACT

--------------------------------------------- ---------

2. (U) Trade Minister Plata said Colombia had sought to host the
event in order to raise Colombia's economic profile in Asia, and to
maximize opportunities for the Colombian business sector to make
the personal connections on which greater Chinese trade and
investment will depend. Despite Colombia's large trade deficit
with China (4 billion dollars), Plata said the GOC's priority was
attracting Chinese direct investment, particularly in
infrastructure and sectors with goods of high value-added, given
that China's share of FDI in Colombia was a meager 0.03 percent of
the total.

3. (U) Colombia signed a bilateral investment treaty with China at
the end of 2008. While China has notified that its ratification
process is complete, the Agreement is still in committee in the
Colombian Congress, which means entry-into-force is still at least
6-8 months away. During his remarks at the opening of the summit,
Uribe publicly asked for China's support for Colombia's effort to
join APEC.

CHINESE INTEREST IN ENERGY AND TRANSPORTATION

---------------------------------------------

4. (U) Chinese companies in attendance included representatives of
the following sectors: biofuels, construction, mining, financial
services, technology, textiles and small appliances. According to
Colombia's investment promotion agency, Proexport, Chinese
companies expressed interest in projects in the mining and energy
sectors, as well as Bogota's metro and light rail projects.

5. (U) Colombia serving as host to the Chinese-Latin Business
Summit is part of Colombia's long-term strategy to raise its
economic profile in Asia (reftel). While one trade mission will
not make a significant impact, it lays the foundation for further
cooperation and a greater role for Colombia in Asia and vice versa.
BROWNFIELD

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