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Record Number of U.S. and Canadian Companies Participate in Colombia's 50th Business Matchmaking Forum in Bogota

The Colombian Government Trade Bureau - Proexport -- is hosting its largest trade event ever in which 3,962 international and domestic companies are participating. This demonstrates the nation's growing role in global markets.

MIAMI, Feb. 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  (PXP) -- A total of 1,228 international buyers and 2,734 national exporters will meet today in Bogota, Colombia, for the country's 50th Business Matchmaking Forum. The event is expected to generate more than US$140 million in agreements between Colombian exporters and international businesses from more than 58 countries. The United States and Canada are represented by a record number of companies, including major brands such as Coca-Cola, Verizon and Perry Ellis, among others.

The first business matchmaking forum was held in 1997. Nearly 200 entrepreneurs from the U.S. visited the country to meet with approximately 400 of their Colombian counterparts. Over the last 17 years, more than 8,500 entrepreneurs from 70 countries have participated in the Matchmaking Forums, which have become an important tool for learning about Colombian businesses and the goods and services they provide.

This year, 323 U.S. companies – the largest delegation from a single country – and 98 Canadian companies are expected at the forum, demonstrating the strength of Colombia's free trade agreements (FTAs) with both countries. The forums strengthen the trade agreements currently in force in Colombia, which have value-added benefits for buyers who decide to do business in the country, such as the reduction or removal of customs tariffs, customs cooperation and assistance, and cross-border services, among others.

Additionally, Business Matchmaking Forums offer international buyers a chance to find all products and services from potential Colombian exporters in a single place. With the aid of Proexport Colombia, foreign companies can find a supplier that matches their expectations and requirements.

Colombian products and services are innovative and high quality with competitive pricing. Products and services from Colombia are also able to customized to meet buyers' demands.

"We will break all of our records for business participation, but more importantly the event shows that Colombia has a growing reputation as an international supplier. The matchmaking forum establishes a strategic platform to allow national companies to diversify their markets and identify new trade opportunities with niche products. Meanwhile, international buyers are able to take advantage of the diverse, competitive and innovative products that Colombia offers," said Maria Claudia Lacouture, President of Proexport Colombia, the agency charged with promoting trade, foreign investment and tourism.

More than 60 percent of buying companies attending the Business Matchmaking Forum in Bogota are attending for the first time, and 14 markets that had never participated in these events before will also be represented. From Colombia, 40 percent of exporters participating in the 50th forum have never attended before.

The forum will be held on February 19th and 20th, 2014 at the Corferias International Business and Exhibition Center in Bogota. Approximately 18,000 business meetings have been scheduled among the representatives of the participating companies.

Concurrently, the first virtual business matchmaking forum will also be held, allowing foreign buyers that are unable to travel to Colombia to meet via teleconference with Colombian exporters of their choosing. Companies from countries such as the U.S., Canada, Spain and Costa Rica will interact with at least 50 Colombian exporters through a videoconference system, allowing for 180 virtual business meetings. Proexport created this system in order to provide opportunities to smaller buyers.

There will also be a manufacturing sector investment opportunity seminar with 42 potential and existing investors who are considering Colombia as their next investment destination.

Participating exporters and buyers span 140 different subsectors from within the areas of agribusiness, services, manufacturing and clothing. In the past few years, Colombia has seen increased demand for fresh flowers, fruits, textiles and services such as animation and business process outsourcing (BPO).

Proexport Colombia operates in 30 countries through 28 business offices, working towards strengthening trade relations by inviting foreign buyers to Business Matchmaking Forums and providing valuable information to help them detect import opportunities of Colombian products, goods, and services.

For more information on Proexport Colombia and upcoming macrorruedas, please visit http://www.proexport.com.co/en.




SOURCE Proexport Colombia

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