Colombia eyes Jafza investment in diversification push
Fayhan Al Fayez Shalhoub, the Colombian ambassador to the UAE, has visited Jafza to explore opportunities to boost Colombian exports to the region through the free zone. He was received by Adil Al Zarooni, senior VP of sales, along with Mohammad Ali Al Kamali, deputy CEO of Dubai Exports (Dubai Economic Department).
Adil Al Zarooni in his welcome note stressed the need to strengthen bilateral relations between Colombia, a leading member of the Pacific Alliance that seeks to be Latin America’s gateway to Asian markets, and Jafza, the Jebel Ali trade and logistics hub for the wider Middle East region.
“Huge opportunities for Colombian products exist in the Middle East region that Jafza as a hub serves,” said Al Zarooni. “The bilateral trade between Colombia and Jafza is estimated to have crossed AED 45 million in 2014, which can easily be doubled if Colombian businesses expand their presence in Jafza and the region.”
The current Colombia-Jafza trade is dominated by re-exports of Colombian goods to the GCC countries from Jafza and Al Zarooni said that opportunities were most evident in the food, agricultural products and textile and garment sectors, which also happen to be Colombia’s strongest exports.
“The Middle East is not only one of the wealthiest and the fastest growing regions in the world but also one of the largest import markets for a variety of products. We invite Colombian companies to use Jafza’s world-class facilities to capitalize on emerging opportunities in these imports driven markets,” he said.
The Republic of Colombia is the world’s 4th largest coal exporter and is also Latin America’s 4th largest oil producer, but the government wants to diversify into the exports of non-oil products and is focused on expanding exports of food products like coffee and banana, as well as textiles and garments.
The United States is Colombia’s biggest export market, but the country wants to explore opportunities in Asian markets including the Middle East. Colombia, Chile, Mexico and Peru have come together to form Pacific Alliance to bolster their presence in Asian markets toward this end.