Among the most prominent buyers are PriceSmart, Hyatt, The Home Depot, Toyota, Jerónimo Martins, Ralph Lauren, and Electronic Arts.
Nearly 1,000 buyers from 62 countries in Oceania, Asia, Europe, and the Americas will connect with 2,000 Colombian companies from 26 Colombian departments across more than 13,000 virtual appointments that will take place from April 12 to 23 as part of 85th edition of ProColombia’s Reactivation macro business matchmaking forum. Canada is the special guest country on the occasion of the 10-year anniversary of the FTA between Colombia and Canada.
The United States, Peru, Canada, Guatemala, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Bolivia, and Spain are the countries with the largest number of participating buyers. For instance, there are a total of 191 U.S. companies, which will be looking mainly for agricultural, food, and fashion products.
The departments with the most participating companies are Cundinamarca, Antioquia, Valle del Cauca, Atlántico, Santander, Risaralda, Caldas, and Norte de Santander.
Colombia’s Minister of Trade, Industry, and Tourism, José Manuel Restrepo, highlighted the great interest of buyers from around the world, who despite the current circumstances which demand that the meetings be held online, want to make the most of this opportunity. The Reactivation macro business matchmaking forum will connect them to Colombian goods and services as offered by 2,000 Colombian companies. “With support from ProColombia, over 13,000 appointments, are expected to be held,” said the minister. He also underscored that this version of the event saw a considerable increase in the number of buyers and sellers. It is a timely opportunity for boosting foreign sales of non-mining products, he added.
“The Reactivation macro business matchmaking forum is the most important trade meeting in Colombia and the cornerstone of our strategy to boost the country’s non-mining exports and to consolidate Colombia as a world-class supplier of goods and services,” said Flavia Santoro, president of ProColombia. “And it comes at a time when we have seen a major interest on the part of buyers in what Colombia has to offer in terms of agricultural products, fashion, metal mechanics, chemicals, and 4.0 industries, as well as in goods and services for biosafety and protection.”
Santoro said that of the 1,000 buying companies, 580 will be participating for the first time in a ProColombia macro business matchmaking forum. They hail from 53 destinations, which shows that there is new interest by international companies that are eager to learn about the supply of Colombian goods and services.
Among the most prominent foreign companies are PriceSmart, Hyatt, The Home Depot, Toyota, Jerónimo Martins, Ralph Lauren, Dole, Coto, Carter’s, and Electronic Arts.
Similarly, of the 2,000 national companies, 643 will be participating for the first time. These companies are domiciled in 23 departments, which reflects the great interest of Colombian companies in becoming international and reaching foreign markets.
Four countries are participating for the first time in this matchmaking forum: Bonaire, St. Eustatius, and Saba; Oman; Iraq; and Luxembourg.
There will also be side activities such as the Internationalization Solutions Block, where companies will be able to schedule individual 30-minute meetings with different Colombian and public institutions to obtain first-hand information on matters related to the export process. The Indirect Exports business matchmaking forum, held between Colombian suppliers and buyers, was organized to enable local companies to find national allies to better export their goods and services.
At the end of the Reactivation Master Roundtable, a face-to-face program will be held, with international buyers coming to the country to learn first-hand about national companies. The international companies that will visit the facilities of Bogotá firms will come thanks to the support of Bogotá’s Secretariat of Economic Development.
Hyatt, Electronic Arts, The Home Depot, and more
The U.S. hotel chain Hyatt, a global hospitality company with 20 brands and more than 950 hotels in 67 countries, will be seeking suppliers of construction materials for projects in the Americas at the Reactivation macro business matchmaking forum. Meanwhile, the Chinese subsidiary of the multinational fruit company Dole, which is headquartered in Shanghai and has more than 2,000 employees, is interested in Hass avocados from Colombia.
The Canadian branch of Electronic Arts, one of the world’s leading video game companies with more than 300 million registered users worldwide and creator of the popular FIFA game, is interested in 3D art, animation, and software services for video games.
The Argentine supermarket Coto, with 50 years of experience in the market and presence mainly in the Greater Buenos Aires area and 120 points of sale, will hold virtual business meetings with Colombian fresh fruit entrepreneurs.
The retailer Club Monaco Ralph Lauren in the United States will be in talks with Colombian manufacturers of casual apparel for men and women, seeking garments such as blouses, suits, pants, jackets, weaves, and others.
In its virtual appointments Jerónimo Martins, the Portuguese food distribution chain with a presence in Portugal, Poland and Colombia, will be looking for avocado, papaya, and mango for export to Portugal.
From the U.S., PriceSmart, the food and non-food retailer in Central America, Colombia and the Caribbean, is interested in textile products in interior, home, fashion, and jewelry categories.
The Home Depot, America’s largest retailer in the home improvement category, will be looking for home décor, furniture and wood products, office furniture, outdoor furniture, home furnishings, towels, and disinfectants.
Wayuu mochilas and handbags created by artisans will be the main objects for the U.S. fashion company Tory Burch, an important brand based in New York.
A good start to the year
Colombia’s non-mining exports have had a strong start this year. In the first two months of the year, they grew 4.3% and registered sales worth US $2,5 billion, thanks to the boost in international sales of agricultural products and chemicals and life sciences, which increased 2.7% and 18.5%, respectively, according to figures from DANE, Colombia’s statistics institute, analyzed by ProColombia.
In February alone, even in the midst of the pandemic and low global demand, the country’s non-mining exports reached US $1,3 billion —8.8% more than in February 2020. It is noteworthy that foreign sales in the manufacturing sector saw the best February performance in the last 6 years (US $653.68 million) and were the main contributor to the growth of total exports of goods in the year’s second month.