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Gustavo Cisneros’ speech at the ARAB-LATINOAMERICAN Forum


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Gustavo Cisneros’ Speech at the ARAB-LATINOAMERICAN Forum in Abu Dhabi, where he participated as moderator in the panel “Assessing the business climate in both regions and existing and potential channels for interregional trade relationship”.

Abu Dhabi, December 2012.

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Gustavo Cisneros’ speech at the ARAB-LATINOAMERICAN Forum

  1. 1. GUSTAVO CISNEROS’S SPEECH ARAB-LATINOAMERICAN FORUM TH DECEMBER 15 , 2012Good afternoon.It is a great pleasure to be in Abu Dhabi for the inaugural Arab Latin America Forum. I would like to thankPresident Leonel Fernandez for his vision. Although commercial relations between Latin America and theArab countries have grown over the last few years, there is still great potential on which tocapitalize. Indeed, this gathering is necessary and timely.I would also like to thank our host, His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister ofHigher Education and Scientific Research, who together with President Fernandez, has made a giantleap in opening this important debate. I would like to welcome our panelists, Mohammad Halaikah, former Deputy Prime Minister for EconomicAffairs in Jordan, and Osvaldo Rosales, Director of the Economic Commission for Latin America(CEPAL). Both of them will certainly enrich our discussion, in which we will assess the business climatein the Arab world and in Latin America.Before we begin, I would like to make a few points. As our first declaration will dictate, we are here toidentify the basis of, and nature of, an enhanced Arab - Latin American partnership across numerousspecific sectors and in areas of mutual benefit and concern. Our discussions will focus on three mainobjectives: 1. Economic and commercial opportunities 2. strengthening educational, academic, scientific and cultural ties, and 3. building a mutual vision on global issues.These are seminal goals. This particular panel is an opportunity for us to analyze the current tradeclimate governing our regions. We can assess growth tendencies, legal framework and conditionsrequired to make the most of our similarities by consolidating our trade relations. It is clear that the Arab countries and Latin America have common goals and values. Within ourcountries, great diversity in economic, political and legal realities co-exist. Therefore, it is necessary toproperly analyze these environments in order to fully maximize our trade relations.The petrochemical, logistics, mining and agricultural sectors are huge areas of opportunity for ourregions. We have the capacity, the capital and the know-how needed to work in these areas and boostinter-regional trade.In the last couple of decades, Latin America has experienced a profound transformation which hasconverted the region in one of the most attractive destinations for investment. The region underwenteconomic reforms that lead the way 1) towards commercial and financial liberalization, 2) towards theprivatization of state enterprises, mainly in the basic public services sector, and 3) towards allowingprivate capital greater access to the natural resources sector, principally in mining.
  2. 2. In order to highlight the many attributes of the Latin American region, I would like to share with you thefollowing video:[ROLL VIDEO]Indeed, Latin America is a land of opportunity.We should foster cooperation and free trade agreements between the regions, and I would like topropose that Abu Dhabi become a groundbreaker in this respect. Examples of transnational commercialtreaties already exist. In 2011, Argentina and Kuwait signed an agreement marking Argentina as a“strategic destination” for Kuwait’s investment funds. Egypt too signed agreements with the membercountries of Mercosur in 2010. However, these treaties have not been exploited to their full potential, andwe need to encourage the integration of our regions by supporting more accords.I would like to open this discussion by proposing the following questions:1) What is the predominating trade climate in the Arab World? Has the political situation of variouscountries in the region over the last few years affected the trade climate?2) What is the trade climate in Latin American? What are the main areas of opportunity in the regionwith regards to foreign trade and logistics?3) What are the main trade/logistics advantages that our regions can offer each other?4) Which areas do we need to work on in order to stimulate trade between the two regions?5) How can Latin America capitalize on the significant potential that is evident in import levels ofagricultural, machinery and pharmaceutical products from Arab countries?6) And finally, what do we need to do to adequately capitalized on the existing trade agreementsbetween the Arab world and Latin America?This promises to be an interesting exchange. Thank you.