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FOREING TRADE

Would you like to do business with China? Join this new community

By Fabrizio Opertti, IDB Chief of Commerce and Investment.

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Published by ConnectAmericas

For most companies in Latin America and the Caribbean, the idea of exporting their products or services to China sounds distant from reality. Export to China? Only “multilatinas,” right?

But in the Internet era, it doesn’t have to be that way; and especially now that ConnectAmericas.com is inaugurating a new community for companies - based in China as well as the region- who would like to do business together.

RedChinaI am writing this from Changsha, China, where the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) organized the Eighth China-LAC Business Summit, together with the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, the People’s Bank of China, and the government of the province of Hunan.

Here we made a special presentation about ConnectAmericas.com before hundreds of entrepreneurs from both regions, explaining how this innovative social tool can shorten distances and serve as a bridge between two very different business environments.

We had the pleasure of welcoming more than 6,000 entrepreneurs that are part of LaREDChina, a network of people in China and Latin America that have already done business together, or are in the process of doing so. The creators of this network chose to create an alliance with ConnectAmericas due to our reach, knowing that in joining forces, we would strengthen each other. You would be the beneficiaries of this alliance, which becomes the most important platform for integration, communication and exchange of information between China and Latin America.

After only five months since its launch, ConnectAmericas.com already has more than 11 thousand registered entrepreneurs and has received more than 60 thousand visitors. Those who are already using it know that this innovative free platform allows users - mostly SMEs - to reach out to potential clients, providers and investors, take online courses that allow them to become agile exporters, access databases about trade laws from around the world, and learn about a wide array of financing options, from IDB loans to commercial bank loans.

Although not all entrepreneurs will establish business relations with China, it is certainly something we must all consider, and why not?

Look at this study the IDB just published, in celebration of this Business Summit in China. For now, this study is available only in English and Chinese, but it contains interesting information about 98 enterprises in our region that have already invested in China.

The study, LAC Investment in China: A New Chapter in Latin America and the Caribbean-China Relations, describes the different strategies adopted by these enterprises, most of which come from Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Mexico. These cases are worth studying; they may serve as a base for other enterprises to do the same.

China and Latin America and the Caribbean have been building a dynamic economic relationship over the years. In early 2000, the percentage of trade between the regions was 1.5%, and has reached 12.3% by 2013 - equaling an amazing 22% annual growth rate. China has become Brazil and Chile’s main business partner, and it is estimated that it will be the region’s main business partner by 2025, overcoming the United States.

Before this new China-LAC relationship, the Business Summit is an event businessmen and investors await more and more each year. But if you were unable to travel to China, don’t worry: register on the new community we are creating at ConnectAmericas.com for entrepreneurs and enterprises that want to do business all over the world.

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