London, 5th March, 2014
Leading business and government figures from Britain and Central America are in London today for a high level conference on trade and investment in the region, with over 150 British investors and companies due to attend.
Organised by the diplomatic missions of the countries of the Central American Integration System (SICA) Countries in London, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Central American Business Council (a London-based trade promotion organisation), under de Pro-Tempore Presidency of Dominican Republic, the event will focus on opportunities for British companies and investors in renewable and conventional energy, transport infrastructure, oil and gas, agriculture and retail.
With major British investments already taking place across the region in sectors as diverse as energy infrastructure, new logistics hubs, the film industry, and the spirits industry, the event has been designed to bring the attention of a wider audience to the opportunities that now exist in Central America. It will also provide practical insights into doing business in the region, address misconceptions, and highlight the potential that now exists.
SICA Secretary General, Hon. Hugo Martinez, will address the conference. He said:
We wholeheartedly welcome this strong display of British business interest in the many trade and investment opportunities which exist across the SICA region. Our regional integration movement, open borders and a network of international free trade agreements all play a vital role in providing international companies with the market access, common standards and investment guarantees which are the route to successful business. SICA and its member countries now look forward to supporting companies on both sides to develop fully the potential of the trade and investment relationship with the United Kingdom.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister of State, Rt. Hon. Hugo Swire MP, will also address the event. He said:
Central America is a region with a bright economic future and we want to encourage more British companies to trade with and invest in Central America, which has a market of over 52 million people. Trade between our countries has never been easier thanks to the new trade agreements between the EU and Central America and the Dominican Republic, which the UK strongly supports. This conference is an important step in informing more British companies about the region so that we can all benefit from the economic growth that new trade relationships will bring.
The event is organized during the SICA Pro Tempore Presidency of the Dominican Republic, whose Ambassador in London, Dr Federico Cuello Camilo, said:
All SICA countries benefit from the renewed priority given to Latin America by the UK Government. For our region, promoting trade and investment in London, which for centuries has been the free-trade capital of the world, allows us to punch above our individual weights. It magnifies the outreach of our efforts, creating awareness of how well our countries are positioned geographically, economically and legally to attract and retain ever increasing wealth flows, given our treaty-level links to Europe and the US. On behalf of all my fellow Ambassadors, we are most grateful for the generosity of the FCO, the logistical support of the CABC and the enthusiastic assistance of high-level participants, who make this Business Conference an unprecedented success.
1) The Event is organised by The Central American Business Council on behalf of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the SICA Diplomatic Missions in London: Belize, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.
2) The Central American Business Council is a London-based organisation which is working to increase significantly the current levels of trade and investment between the UK and Central America. The organisation was launched to coincide with the signing in 2012 of a comprehensive new free trade agreement between the EU and Central America. With senior representatives of UK and Central American companies in membership and the full support of both the UK and Central American governments, the Council provides its members with access to a unique network of business and government contacts and a London-based source of support and advice on trade and investment issues. The Council’s President is Baroness Hooper, a leading supporter in the House of Lords of closer relations between the UK and Latin America.
3) Sponsors for the event are as follows: Headline Sponsor – Panama Pacifico; Business Partners – CABEI; Air France; KLM; Central American Partner – Consortium Centro America Abogados; Supporting Sponsors - De La Rue; Volterra Fietta; Reception Sponsor – Brugal (Edrington);