January 27, 2014- News Clips - Is Colombia the new Hollywood?

… Colombia is amazingly beautiful and seems specially created by nature to nurture the dreams of filmmakers in search of the one place capable of providing an entire range of gorgeous scenery perfect for creating a magnificent film.

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Oleoducto Central SA, owner of Colombia’s largest pipeline, is planning to sell about $400 million in dollar-denominated bonds this year to finance expansion plans, majority stakeholder Ecopetrol SA (ECOPETL) said.
 

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… One such example is seen in Medellín, Colombia, where a unique partnership between public utility company Empresas Publicas de Medellín (EPM) and the city has yielded economic opportunities in marginalized neighborhoods, fostered inclusive communities, and attracted international recognition and investment.
 

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January 24, 2014- Press Releases - Embajador Villegas se reúne con líderes de la comunidad colombiana, empresarios e inversionistas del estado de Florida   Washington, 24 de enero de 2014. El Embajador de Colombia ante el Gobierno de los Estados Unidos, Luis Carlos Villegas, visitó este 23 y 24 de enero las ciudades de Orlando y Miami con el propósito de dar a conocer las oportunidades en Colombia a inversionistas y empresarios de ese estado. Este viaje es el primero dentro de su plan de visitar a cada una de las 12 ciudades de los Estados Unidos en donde Colombia tiene representación consular con el fin de tener un contacto más directo con las diferentes comunidades colombianas en estas ciudades. Durante su estadía en Orlando, el Embajador participó en un evento organizado por la Cámara de Comercio Hispana de Metro Orlando (HCCMO) al que asistieron alrededor de 80 empresarios y líderes de la comunidad colombiana incluyendo representantes de Suntrust Bank, Entravision, y el Aeropuerto Internacional de Orlando. El Embajador Villegas aprovechó la visita para sostener reuniones con el equipo del Consulado de Colombia en Orlando, la Asociación Colombo-Americana de Médicos (Coamed) y periodistas del Orlando Sentinel. El 24 de enero el Embajador continuó su agenda en la ciudad de Miami, en donde participó en una mesa redonda con altos empresarios afiliados al Consejo de las Américas, además de sostener reuniones con el equipo del Consulado de Colombia en Miami, y periodistas del Miami Herald y National Public Radio (NPR). Durante su visita a Florida, el Embajador Villegas presentó la Nueva Colombia y expuso la transformación del país en materia económica, política y social. Igualmente, tuvo la oportunidad de destacar la agenda progresista del Presidente Juan Manuel Santos y los avances en el proceso de paz que actualmente se adelanta con las FARC.   
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El embajador de Colombia en Estados Unidos, Luis Carlos Villegas, se reunió esta semana con la Junta Editoral del Orlando Sentinel [...] "Somos un país completamente diferente al que se conocía hace 15 años y seguimos avanzando en el buen camino", expresó el embajador ... 

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January 24, 2014- Colombia in Focus Newsletters -
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January 24, 2014- News Clips - Ambassador of Colombia in Washington at The Sentinel  

Colombia's ambassador in the United States, Luis Carlos Villegas, met this week with the Editoral Board of the Orlando Sentinel to discuss the economic and social changes that this South American nation has had in the last decade.
 

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Imagine waking up in a Marriott or a Decameron hotel, opening the curtains to a modern city skyline, stepping outside your door for breakfast at Dunkin' Donuts or Juan Valdez, taking a rapid-transit bus to your meeting, grabbing a burger at Johnny Rockets or El Corral, and picking up a new scarf at Gap or Arturo Calle.

This sounds like a typical day for an American business traveler, but this isn't a story about America. This happens every day in today's Colombia. Just a decade ago, few would have believed that Colombia would become one of the most dynamic economies in the world. But, what seemed improbable then is now a reality.

Colombia is the third-largest economy in the region, home to nearly 50 million consumers and a rising middle class with significant economic mobility. With gross-domestic product growth over the past four years estimated at close to 5 percent and the lowest inflation in decades, Colombia — soon to become a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development — has fast become a major regional power.

During the third quarter of 2013, the Colombian economy grew 5.1 percent, fueled by the dynamism of construction and agriculture. The implementation of the largest infrastructure plan in our country's history will increase the potential growth of our economy.

Our economic growth, coupled with a progressive policy agenda, has increased the well-being of our citizens and created a more inclusive society. Health-care coverage is universal, and life expectancy has dramatically moved up. Between 2010 and 2013, Colombia had a significant reduction in poverty rates, lifting around three million citizens to the middle class.

Unemployment has been continuously decreasing during the past 40 months, reaching a record low of 8.5 percent last November. Over the past three years, the Colombian economy has raised the real minimum wage, while creating nearly 2.5 million jobs, expanding a dynamic middle class that offers enormous opportunities for companies around the world.

A simple example illustrates the vibrancy of our market. As a result of rising available income, more than a third of Colombian households own a pet. The pet-care market is estimated to grow at 13 percent per year; according to industry data, the market for pet foods grew from $68 million in 2008 to $400 million in 2013.

Since 2003, foreign direct investment in Colombia has increased sevenfold, and investment responds for about 30 percent of GDP. Our market is increasingly attractive to investors because of our strong adherence to the rule of law and our independent institutions that guarantee a stable macroeconomic environment within a framework of fiscal sustainability.

As a result, leading U.S. companies such as Starbucks, Hyatt Corp., IBM, Google, Facebook, Hewlett-Packard, JW Marriott, Gap and others are investing in our country. Colombian investment abroad is also growing rapidly.

Strengthening international trade has been important for growth. Last year, we signed trade agreements with three new countries and concluded negotiations on a regional pact with Chile, Peru and Mexico — the Pacific Alliance, an integrated market of 210 million consumers and a GDP of nearly $2 trillion.

The Free Trade Agreement with the United States, implemented only one year ago, has already created significant opportunities for U.S. and Colombian businesses to reach both markets. Colombia is Florida's second-largest trade partner globally; last year, exports from Florida to Colombia exceeded $3 billion, a 50 percent increase over the past five years.

Colombia has come a long way. However, significant work remains to be done in order to become a developed country in the next generation. President Juan Manuel Santos is creating a substantial package of reforms in the judicial, political and rural sectors, which will accompany a peace negotiation with illegal groups in order to achieve the long-lasting peace that our country needs to reach its full potential.

Colombia is firmly on the path to sustained progress and prosperity. I invite Florida businesses to seize the new opportunities in Colombia and continue playing a key role in this shared success story.

 

 

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Colombia is paying less to borrow for three decades than developing nations with the same credit rating as it capitalizes on a pickup in economic growth and its trading ties with the U.S.

 

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January 21, 2014- News Clips - Colombia Joins EM Bond Bonanza

Colombia on Tuesday became the latest country to tap the market’s ferocious demand for emerging market debt after it successfully sold $2bn of 30-year bonds abroad.

 

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January 16, 2014- Press Releases - Embajador Villegas destaca continuación de cooperación EE.UU-Colombia   El Embajador de Colombia, Luis Carlos Villegas, dio hoy la siguiente declaración tras conocer la decisión del Congreso de EE.UU. de aprobar el presupuesto para el año 2014, en el cual se da continuidad a la cooperación entre EE.UU. y Colombia.   “Quiero destacar el permanente apoyo de los Estados Unidos a Colombia. En este presupuesto se asignaron recursos por más de $320 millones de dólares que se destinarán al fortalecimiento de nuestras fuerzas armadas, al sostenimiento de nuestra biodiversidad, a la asistencia de comunidades indígenas y afrocolombianas, y a nuestra cooperación bilateral en seguridad para los países de Centroamérica.   Particularmente en un momento de restricción fiscal, la acción tomada por el Congreso para mantener el apoyo a Colombia demuestra un fuerte respaldo bipartidista para el programa y refuerza la importancia de la alianza estratégica de larga data.   Desde su creación en el 2000, el Plan Colombia ha sido uno de los esfuerzos más exitosos de cooperación entre Colombia y los Estados Unidos”.   Según expresó el Presidente Santos al término de su reunión con el Presidente Barack Obama en la Casa Blanca en diciembre del año pasado, “las relaciones entre los dos países, tal vez en este momento están en su mejor momento en muchísimo tiempo. Por eso nuestra agenda es mucho más amplia. Una agenda que ya se salió de los puntos tradicionales que eran seguridad, narcotráfico y derechos humanos, para ampliarse en temas como educación, tecnología, energía y cooperación mutua frente a terceros países”.  
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Colombia's Grupo Energia de Bogota said Thursday that it has entered into a $650 million deal to acquire a stake in a consortium that operates a major Peruvian gas pipeline.

 

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Avianca Holdings SA, Colombia’s biggest airline, gained the most in three months after Grupo BTG Pactual named the stock as one if its top picks in the transportation industry.

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January 9, 2014- News Clips - U.S. to Push For More Trade With Latin America

U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker unveiled a new initiative aimed at increasing business with trade partners in Latin America, only days after the 20th anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement's implementation.

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Marine fuel supplier OW Bunker said Monday it would start operations in Cartagena, Colombia. "The move into the Colombian bunker market builds upon OW Bunker's presence across the region with existing offices in Chile, Uruguay, Panama and Brazil," the company said in a statement.

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Marine fuel supplier OW Bunker said Monday it would start operations in Cartagena, Colombia. "The move into the Colombian bunker market builds upon OW Bunker's presence across the region with existing offices in Chile, Uruguay, Panama and Brazil," the company said in a statement.

 

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Travel + Leisure's Jane Wooldridge highlighted the "up-and-coming cruise port: Santa Marta, Colombia. She suggests an excursion that involves embracing Colombia's oldest city, where  you'll see artifacts of the Kogi and Arhuaco peoples in the Gold Museum-and tour the final home of 19th-century liberator Simón Bolívar."

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January 1, 2014- News Clips - Colombian Banks Spread Their Wings

Twenty years later and Colombia’s second city is more often associated with prosperous companies and impressive architecture, something exemplified by the headquarters of Bancolombia, the country’s largest commercial bank by assets, which is a gleaming $200m building the size of a cruise liner.

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Colombia is celebrated for five things: gold, emeralds, coffee, flowers and beautiful people, my tour guide explains. That’s all true. But there’s also so much more to enjoy in this South American republic, from historic fortresses and churches to stylish hotels and a growing restaurant scene.

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December 20, 2013- Colombia in Focus Newsletters -
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Colombia's economy grew by a faster-than-expected 5.1 percent in the third quarter, compared with the same period of 2012, the government said on Thursday, supporting the market view that the central bank will hold borrowing costs steady for a ninth straight month.

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Colombia's central bank held its benchmark lending rate steady at 3.25 percent for a ninth straight month as expected on Friday after a pick up in economic growth on strong consumer spending and as inflation remains at a six-decade low. The seven-member board will probably hold off making any directional decisions until the first few months of next year to gauge how the 200 basis points shaved from lending rates between July and March impact full year economic growth. "The tone of the statement was favorable," said Marisol Torres, an analyst at Helm Bank, regarding the bank's outlook on growth.

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December 19, 2013- News Clips - Construction Boosts Colombia's Economy

The Colombian economy grew much faster than expected last quarter as construction spending soared and the agriculture and mining sectors rose at a healthy pace, according to data released by the government Thursday.

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Canacol Energy Ltd. (CNE), the crude explorer whose shares doubled in Bogota and Toronto this year, expects output may surpass a previous estimate of 15,000 daily barrels in 2014 following its Leono discovery in Colombia.

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With more than 5,000 attendants and dozens of powerful films and documentaries, last year's Colombian Film Festival held in New York City was a big success, bridging Colombians from all over the U.S. to those from their home country and celebrating the talent and creativity from the South American actors and directors.

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Colombia’s economic growth accelerated in the third quarter, led by construction and agriculture, after the central bank cut interest rates seven times in the nine months through March. Gross domestic product expanded 5.1 percent from a year earlier, compared with a revised 3.9 percent in the second quarter, the national statistics agency said today in Bogota. The expansion was faster than the 4.3 percent median forecast of 31 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. GDP expanded 1.1 percent from the previous quarter.

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Colombia hopes to raise $2.6 billion dollars by auctioning more than 22 million hectares for oil exploration and production in 2014, the National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH) said. The Colombian oil sector has attracted a large influx of foreign direct investment in the last decade. The auctions, which the ANH announced on Tuesday night, are part of Colombia's strategy to increase production and crude oil reserves.

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December 18, 2013- News Clips - Colombian papayas make a splash in Canada

Growers from Colombia’s Alto Sinú zone in the department of Córdoba have managed to successfully ship regular papaya lots to the Canadian market since October, where they plan to slowly expand their presence while also opening up new markets. Frandy Group manager Francisco Osorio, whose company exports the fruit, told www.freshfruitportal.com Colombia had shipped 120 metric tons (MT) of papayas to Canada so far.

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The Governments of the United States and Colombia will hold the first meetings of the Environmental Affairs Council and the Environmental Cooperation Commission December 18-19, 2013. The Council and Commission were created through the United States - Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement Environment Chapter and the associated United States-Colombia Environmental Cooperation Agreement, respectively.

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Colombia’s economy grew close to 5 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, according to preliminary figures seen by Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas, led by construction and a recovery in coffee farming.

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