The meeting took place in Goldsmiths’ Hall in London with the presence of the Guatemalan Minister of Economy, Sergio de la Torre; the Minister of the Interior, Mauricio López Bonilla; and the Minister of Energy, Erick Archila. Her Excellency Sarah Dickson, British Ambassador to Guatemala, was also present on behalf of the UK Government. The companies represented were:
- Daniel Bronstein, CEO Solway Investment Group
- Colin Child, Chief Operating Officer, De La Rue Plc
- Mark Fox, Managing Director, Starbucks Coffee Company (UK & Ireland)
- Rupert Goodman DL, Chairman, FIRST Magazine
- Mr Ron Haddock, Executive Chairman, AEI Services LLC
- Alastair Harris, Executive Publisher and Editor, FIRST Magazine
- Hurd of Westwell CH CBE, Chairman, Advisory Council, FIRST
- Christian Moullard, Director, Americas, Perenco
- General The Lord Richards of Herstmonceux, Chairman Equilibrium Global
- Matías Rojas, Founder, Blue Oil SA
- Jaime Tupper, Chief Executive Officer, Energuate Guatemala
- Kingsley Wheaton, Corporate & Regulatory Affairs Director, British American Tobacco
At the meeting, Jose Orive, the new Executive Director of the International Sugar Organisation, based in London, was also present.
The company representatives expressed particular interest in exploring investment opportunities in the areas of infrastructure and energy. Some of them already operate in the country and help contribute towards making the UK the largest European investor in Guatemala (£34m in 2013).
Andrew Tate, Chargé d’Affaires at the British Embassy in Guatemala, commented on the visit:
I’m glad to see British companies taking an increasing interest in Guatemala. Recently the country has taken several steps towards improving its business environment as evidenced by its improved position in the ‘doing business ranking’ of the World Bank. I would however like to take this opportunity to encourage the authorities to continue making improvements in trade and investment freedoms, including the respect of the Rule of Law and private property rights.
The UK is leading the way by making Britain even more competitive: cutting corporation tax; reforming education; and tackling our budget deficit. The UK is the easiest major European economy in which to set up and run a business. It is the gateway to the European market and has first class professional and financial services to help businesses looking to expand to the Continent.