Legal recommendations when investing in Colombia

Legal recommendations when investing in Colombia

Colombia has witnessed a considerable increase in the volume of foreign investment within the past years.

 Globalization, economic growth, stability of the Colombian market and the signature of free trade and cooperation agreements, have caused an increase in the confidence to invest in the country.

 Investing in a foreign country can be daunting given the many aspects to be taken into account and that, if not observed, may have a negative impact on the economy and reputation of the investor.

 For this reason, at the moment of committing to an investment, it is necessary to  analyze several basic points that would determine the outcome of the investment. By way of example we suggest the analysis of (i) under what legal form the investor will undertake the business, such as forming a separate legal entity or establishing a partnership with a local business, (ii) how and where is the investor going to purchase any assets, especially when it comes to real estate (if that is the proposed project purpose), (iii) where is the new company going to operate, (iv) what is the tax impact and foreign exchange impact associated with the project investment, (v) what benefits are there for new companies, which could be used to ease the financial burden of the investor during the first years of the project, (vi) if applicable, how to import the machinery and goods needed for the operation and, equally important, (vii) management of the expatriates entering the country (either for a short period of time to help with the set-up of the operation, or those who stay in the country for a long term).

 If you want to know more about investing in Colombia, we invite you to visit the following link


India Latin- America and Caribbean Conclave

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), is organizing the 6th India-Latin America & Caribbean (LAC) Conclave: from 8th-9th October 2015, Hotel Taj Palace, New Delhi. The Conclave is being organized in partnership with Ministry of Commerce & Industry and Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.

The growing bilateral trade and investment volumes between India and the LAC exemplifies the robustness in economic ties between both regions and the competitive business strength which prevails. This cooperation needs sustained institutional efforts, market penetration opportunities, promotion in export and joint ventures with key partners to mutually benefit trade and investment on both sides. The India-LAC Business Conclave, this year aims to provide a platform for investors from India and the LAC region to interact, network through B2B meetings, understand the regional economic groupings in LAC and capitalize on the trade and investment prospects by aligning with them. The conclave will be an important opportunity for Indian and LAC business enterprises from diverse sectors to establish long-term economic partnerships and foster South-South Cooperation.


e-Tourist Visa (e-TV) for Colombian Nationals

The e-TV facility, launched by the Government of India on 27 November 2014 has been extended to Colombian nationals with effect from 15 August, 2015.

Using the e-TV facility, Colombian nationals can visit India for tourism, short duration medical treatment, casual visit to meet friends or relatives or casual business visit. The validity of an e-TV is for 30 days and can be applied twice every year. The e-TV is non-extendable, except in cases of medical emergency. Visitors with e-TV can travel to 16 designated international airports in India viz., Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bangalore, Chennai, Gaya, Goa, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Kochi, Lucknow, Mumbai, New Delhi, Thiruchirapalli, Thiruvananthpuram and Varanasi.

Colombian nationals can apply for e-TV online in the following link:

India is the world’s largest beef exporter

India was the world’s top beef exporter last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, widening its lead over other more established suppliers such as Brazil and Australia.

That’s because India exports large quantities of meat from water buffalo — a member of the bovine family classified as beef by the USDA.

The buffalo trade has been growing rapidly and now earns India more export dollars than basmati rice.
Related: India will have more people than China by 2022

India’s buffalo meat — a chewier and cheaper alternative to beef — mostly ends up on plates in Asia and the Middle East, where rising wealth is spurring demand among diners for animal protein.

But India’s role in the global meat trade sticks out in the largely Hindu country where vegetarianism is widespread.
The cow is revered in Hindu culture, the religion observed by roughly 80% of India’s 1.3 billion people, and restrictions on cattle slaughter apply in most states.

Buffaloes largely fall outside those bans.

Still, the $4.8 billion annual export trade has almost developed by accident — the animals are needed to keep India’s huge domestic dairy industry going, said Rabobank analyst Pawan Kumar.

This is unique among countries with large bovine exports, Kumar said. It also means buffalo meat from India is cheaper. That helped the country generate record export earnings from the beef last year, although growth is moderating from the 30% annual rate seen between 2010 to 2013.

Here’s where it all goes: Vietnam is the top importer, with Malaysia, Egypt and Saudi Arabia other key markets.

Then there’s China, which may actually be the largest consumer of the meat, according to Rabobank’s Kumar. Some 40% of Indian buffalo is sent to Vietnam, before large quantities make their way across the Chinese border. That trade doesn’t show up in official statistics.

A small amount is consumed in India. Many locals, including some Hindus and others in the Christian and Muslim populations, eat meat and poultry, and consumption is rising.

Data from market research firm Euromonitor International shows sales of beef, lamb and chicken in India have all increased steadily over the past six years.

Rising wealth is a big reason for the growth. Analyst Anastasia Alieva said India’s disposable income has surged 95% since 2009, and meat consumption has nearly doubled over that time.


Latin America holds huge promise for Indian trade & investment

*By Huma Siddiqui

Recent high-level visits to the region have helped paved way for cementing bilateral ties

If there is one region where India is taking many new initiatives to step up political engagement and increase trade and investment, it is Latin America. An indication of India’s keenness is evident from the intensive interactions with the region in the last few months. There have been exchange of visits with almost all countries in the Latin American, Central American and Caribbean region in recent times.

In 2014, Foreign Office Consultations have been held with Colombia, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Mexico, Chile, Ecuador, Argentina, Guatemala, Uruguay & El Salvador and Joint Commission Meeting(JCM) was held with Mexico. In 2015, Foreign Office Consultations (FOCs) have been held with Costa Rica, Honduras and Barbados and Joint Commission Meeting was held with Suriname.

In over one year of the Narendra Modi government, senior ministers have visited several countries including Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Guatemala, Jamaica and Dominican Republic . There have been incoming visits by Foreign Ministers of Mexico, Guatemala and Suriname. The President of Guyana and Vice president of Cuba have also visited India this year.

huma-1(El Ministro de Estado (C/I) para Petróleo y Gas Natural, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, encabezó una delegación de la India a México los días 18 y 19 de mayo de 2015. Durante la visita oficial de dos días sostuvo conversaciones bilaterales con su homólogo el ministro de Energía de México, el Sr. Pedro Joaquín Caldwell)

Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, accompanied by a high-level business delegation, followed by Minister of State for External Affairs, Gen (retd) VK Singh, visited the region recently. The focus was to woo investors from the region and increase India’s outreach in Latin America and the Caribbean. During the visit the Minsters reviewed the bilateral agenda and co-operation in the areas of energy, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, IT and the automotive industry.

The region offers immense opportunities to Indian companies, especially in sectors such as energy, pharmaceuticals and agri business.

Visit of Minister of State for External Affairs, Gen VK Singh, (retd) to Venezuela was extremely significant. Venezuela is India’s largest trading partner and our third largest supplier of crude energy globally. One of the priorities for India is to increase our exports to Venezuela where there is good demand for Indian goods. India’s also has some significant investments in Venezuela. The overseas arm of state-run explorer ONGC-OVL, has invested in two projects in San Cristobal and Carabobo-1, respectively.

(Minister of State for External Affairs Gen. (Dr.) V. K. Singh (Retd.) visited Caracas (Venezuela) on 24-25 May, 2015)
Venezuela and India have also signed a dozen agreements on energy in recent years, including for development of the Orinoco Belt, oil exploration and production, cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector and development in the gas and petrochemical sectors. India imports 20 per cent of its oil needs from Latin American countries, including Venezuela, as declared by Mr Pradhan during his visit to Colombia recently.huma-2

Venezuela, on its part, also plans to significantly increase crude oil supply to India and is negotiating with Reliance Industries, its major customer, for a joint venture in the OPEC country’s energy industry. In fact, Eulogio Del Pino , President of its national oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela S.A., was in New Delhi recently as a follow up to visit of Minister of State for External Affairs Gen (retd) VK Singh to ensure that all issues between the two sides are resolved and opportunities for further investments are opened up.

Venezuela produces heavy, viscous oil, which is usually priced lower than lighter grades. Modern refineries that process such grades of crude earn much higher refining margins than other processing plants that require superior grades. Venezuela is also much further away from key Asian markets than West Asian suppliers, such as OPEC powerhouse Saudi Arabia, but PDVSA executives say their oil is competitively priced and supplies are reliable.

This Latin American country is also currently holding membership in the UN Security Council for a two year term. Venezuela will also soon be assuming the chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Yet another important country for India is Ecuador, which is holding the Pro Tempore Presidency of CELAC during the 2015. Besides inaugurating an IT center there set up with the help of India, there have been talks on the expansion of the trade basket, as Ecuador offers a privileged location, extended production diversity, great potential in agri-business, fishery, aquaculture, forestry, mining, tourism and services and has a favourable legislation on foreign investment, offers preferential commercial access to different markets and US dollar is its official currency.

Besides oil, defence and pharmaceuticals, India could look at importing gold and silver from Ecuador, which has gold reserves of 225.000 tonnes, 12.500 tons of silver and produces about 350.000 barrels of oil a day.

The Member States of SICA highlighted the importance of financial cooperation received from India through Lines of Credit (LOC) and welcomed India’s offer to increase this further to US $240 million. The region is already utilizing Line of Credit worth approximately US $ 133 mil.

During the SICA meeting, the members talked about the importance of bilateral and multilateral technical cooperation received from India and welcomed its offer to increase the number of scholarships from 100 to 200 under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme (ITEC). India has now offered to extend scholarships exclusively to the Secretariat of SICA in the area of capacity building under ITEC Programme.

During the ministerial meeting in Guatemala, India offered to establish a Regional Barefoot Vocational Training Center for SICA member countries in Guatemala, which will train women from remote villages in the rural area as solar engineers.

Trade and investments have emerged as the main driver of the relationship between SICA countries and India. India’s trade with SICA region has also since grown considerably. Two way trade between India and SICA region has increased from $ 927 million to $ 1.4 billion in 2014. This shows a healthy annual growth of 10.9 %. There is still a lot of potential that India needs to identify and explore. It was decided to hold a meeting of the India-SICA Business Forum as soon as possible in a Central American Country to encourage trade further.

In addition, India will be organizing «Days of Indian Culture» in SICA countries to encourage people to people contacts.


In another significant development the first ever India – Caricom Joint Commission meeting was held in Georgetown, Guyana on 2 June. The CARICOM-India Joint Commission is a mechanism for dialogue to enhance cooperation across all sectors and areas including political, economic, and technical cooperation. Though the agreement to initiate the commission was signed in 2003, this was the first ever meeting between the two sides in this format.

huma-4(First Meeting of the India-CARICOM Joint Commission held in Georgetown, Guyana (June 02, 2015)

The landmark meeting was led by Special Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, R. Swaminathan and CARICOM Secretary General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque. The CARICOM group of countries acknowledged India as an «important partner” for the region, with embassies and high commissions already set up in the four CARICOM states — Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago– along with an accredited CARICOM Ambassador.

«What was encouraging was that all members were either present physically or through video conferencing. India has a huge potential in the region as there is plenty of scope for cooperation in various sectors including agriculture, health, IT and pharmaceuticals. ” said a senior officer in the Ministry. India enjoys close historical and cultural links with the region because of the presence of a large Indian diaspora.

CARICOM has 15 members – Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago. Of these, all except Montserrat are nation States. Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands and Turks & Caicos Islands are Associate Members of the Community. The Chairmanship of the Community is rotates every six months among the member countries.

(Huma Siddiqui is a senior correspondent with The Financial Express. This article has been written exclusively for the MEA website)

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