On October 11th and 12th 2018, The Business Association for Latin America (LAV) invited, together with the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce and under the patronage of the First Mayor of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, Dr. Peter Tschentscher, for the 69th Latin America Day in Hamburg. Guest of honor at the gala dinner was H.E. Sebastián Piñera, President of the Republic of Chile. The great interest in this year's conference was reflected in a new record number of visitors: all events of the LAT 2018 were fully booked weeks in advance. With almost 1250 registrations for the four events, it was the most visited LAT ever.
Santander Consumer Bank AG invited more than 200 conference attendees to the Chamber of Commerce on October 10 for an evengin reception to make new contacts and meet old acquaintances.
The first day of the conference, which took place on 11th October, featured 385 participants entitled "Latin American trade alliances in the global economic context". High-level representatives of the Latin American alliances presented as key note speakers the current state and their view on the international positioning of their alliances: Melvin Redondo, Secretary-General of SIECA from Guatemala City, Ricardo Baluga, Deputy General Director for Integration and MERCOSUR from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay from Montevideo and Edgar Vásquez Vela, Vice Minister for Foreign Trade of the Republic of Peru and President Pro Tempore of the High-Level Group of the Pacific Alliance from Lima also discussed after their key notes with the Spanish economist Prof. Inmaculada Martinez-Zarzoso of the Georg-August University Göttingen on consequences, strategies and current developments.
The key notes can be found here:
The other speeches will be submitted later.
In the subsequent three parallel forums, there was lively discussion about the topics Food & Agribusiness, Business Culture & Leadership and Smart Logistics.
In Forum 1 Food & Agribusiness it became clear that the topic of safe food supply generally holds great potential with an increasing world population and in particular can lead to a clearly growing sector in Latin America. A key factor in the competitiveness of Latin American products is the competence and ability of producers to meet the standards and norms of developed markets.
The Forum 2 Business Culture & Leadership highlighted the different business cultures between Latin America and Europe, including the differences in different areas of the American continent, but also the importance of a mutually practiced respectful culture of encounter. The relevance of the topic was also reflected in the fact that this forum was the most visited one of the conference day.
Deutsche Bahn, commercial vehicle manufacturers, logistics companies or innovative startups: Many institutions are researching how the so-called logistics chain can be made smarter. The participants of the Smart Logistics Forum 3 discussed these developments and challenges, focusing on the pricing of transport costs, the importance of dynamic employees and the real infrastructure.
In the afternoon, there was a successful continuation of the Young Professionals program of the LAV Juniors, which has become an integral part of the LAT. This year, the entrepreneurial experience reports of the young decision-makers were framed by a special guest: Carpenter Alexander Eischeid had traveled with his Vespa from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego across the entire American continent through 19 countries. At the LAT he presented impressions of his adventure journey; he had even brought his Vespa to the Chamber of Commerce. (Further link: www.vesparicana.de)
At the gala dinner, the traditional highlight of the Latin America Day, Dr. Peter Tschentscher, First Mayor of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, spoke as patron of the LAT to the 350 guests of the gala dinner in the festively lit historic trading room of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce. Previously, Bodo Liesenfeld, Chairman of the Board of the LAV, addressed the guests. The highlight of the evening followed: This year's guest of honor, H.E. Sebastián Piñera, President of the Republic of Chile, gave a dedicated speech highlighting the commonalities of both countries and the opportunities of German companies in Chile.
The prelude to the "Economic Conference - Chile" was in a sense the gala dinner, which took place on thursday evening in the chamber of commerce and to which a delegation of more than 20 people from Chile accompanied the president Piñera. After the Chilean president gave a positive and forward-looking speech at the gala dinner in which he emphasized the stability of his country and reaffirmed his absolute will to bring his country closer to the standard of the leading industrialized nations in the next few years, the economic day on Chile focused with more than 300 participants important topics for the future-oriented country.
In his welcome speech, Dr. Ulrich Nussbaum, State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), emphasized the good cooperation between Germany and Chile and the strengthening of cooperation in energy policy issues as well as in manager training through the current conclusion of two agreements. He called the question of a double taxation agreement between the two countries an important factor for bilateral economic relations, which could be solved in the short term. Dr. Dorothee Stapelfeldt, Senator of Hamburg, referred in her welcome speech to the special relationship between Hamburg and Chile.
In the keynote speeches, ProChile director Jorge O'Ryan and SOFOFA's president, Bernardo Larraín Matte, presented a country that makes Chile an ideal location for German companies, thanks to an above-average environment for investment in the Chilean economy from there to export to the entire Latin American region. Political and economic stability also provides a solid framework for future-oriented developments. The political will of the President to adapt his country to the standards of leading industrialized nations in the next few years was increasingly expressed: Chile should become "digital". The expansion of value chains, production and services for Chile play an important role here. ProChile and SOFOFA see their tasks as strengthening especially the small and medium-sized enterprises of the country as well as the cooperation between the public and the private sector.
The key notes can be found here:
Bernardo Larraín Matte
The subsequent panel discussion deepened the topics already mentioned. Important for Chile are, among others, questions such as vocational training, the modernization of institutions, the empowerment of women in the economy and the possibility of granting micro-credits.
In three parallel forums, select speakers talked about digitalization, especially with regard to the competitiveness of small and medium-sized companies, the consolidation of start-ups and companies with the help of modern venture capital concepts, and the importance of sustainable concepts and implementation strategies for the food sector.
In Forum 1 "Digitalization in SMEs: shared challenges between Chile and Germany", it became clear that there are many areas where Germany and Chile face similar challenges and where they can learn from each other. The forum's experts also emphasized the enormous possibilities of making companies more efficient and competitive through digitization.
Forum 2 "Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital" was the most visited one of the day: Chile offers in the Latin American comparison very good conditions for venture capital, corresponding to international standards. This information needs to be more widely disseminated, as many investors and decision-makers lack the knowledge about the opportunities the country offers.
The third forum, "Sustainability in the Food Industry" addressed the question of what the industry-specific approach to sustainability means for Chilean companies and exporters, how this term itself can be defined, and how the implementation of standards and the issue of certification are resolved. In conclusion, the existing use of certifications complicates market access for many Chilean mid-sized companies; the question of sustainable production can not be answered equally for all products and the most important condition for a change in production can only be achieved through price.
The 69th Latin America Day was closed by the Chairman of the Board, Lateinamerika Verein e.V. (LAV), Bodo Liesenfeld, together with the Managing Director of the Chilean-German Chamber of Commerce CAMCHAL, Cornelia Sonnenberg.