I am in Bogota on the second leg of my tour this week.
The Colombian economy is doing well with growth over six percent. The local businessmen are upbeat. FDI in 2006 was six billion dollars and is expected to increase to 8 billion in 2007.
India's exports to Colombia in 2006 were 364 million dollars. This makes Colombia the third largest destination for India's exports to Latin America.
OVL has bought a oil field ( 420 million dollars) which produces 20000 barrels per day. They plan to increase production to 60000 bpd by 2010. They are also looking for more oil fields and joint venture with Ecopetrol, the Colombian natinal oil company.
What makes the OVL venture interesting is that theirs is a 50:50 joint venture with Sinopec, the Chinese oil company. If you cannot beat them.. join them.
I met this young Indian engineer who was earlier in Caracas. He told me that his company Schlumburger does more work in Colombia than in Venezuela.
I also met in Ambassador Bhojwani's reception a number of India pharma reps and IT professionals. There was Ashok yadav from Strides Arcolabs, kamlesh Thakkar of IPCA Labs and Sreenathan Kavunkal of Claris Life sciences.
The Government of Colombia is rolling out a new FDI policy to attract foreign investment. Under the new policy, if a company invests 32 million dollars providing 500 jobs, the venture will be considered as a free trade zone by itself. This means the co can import and export without duties. What if a new government wants to change this status. Hmm.. The Colombians provide an innovative insurance. The co can pay one percent of their investment and get a 'stability pact" which ensures that the status cannot be altered for the next 20 years.
The brain behind is the young Minister of Commerce Mr Luis Guillermo Plata, MBA from Harvard business school, who remembered his Indian buddies from the school. He has done a one month trekking from Srinagar to kargil to leh and Dharamsala
A Colombian business delegation is expected to visit India by end 2007.