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The Ibero-American Secretary General, Rebeca Grynspan; The President of CEOE and Vice President of BUSINESSEUROPE, Antonio Garamendi, and the Secretary General of the International Organization of Employers (OIE), Roberto Suárez, opened today a digital conference on the regionalization of value chains of goods and services, under the slogan "More Ibero-America: challenges and opportunities in the Region and in third markets". In the course of it, leading experts from the public and private sectors analyzed the reality of value chains and their role in the economic recovery; the sectors that have been most affected and what possible solutions are there to support them; and the role of multilateral institutions and business organizations; among other issues. The conference, organized by the Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB), the Council of Ibero-American Entrepreneurs (CEIB) and the Ibero-American Federation of Young Entrepreneurs (FIJE), tried to respond to the challenges and opportunities in the Region as a whole and to its various areas of economic influence, such as the Pacific Alliance, SIECA or MERCOSUR.

Given the new paradigm that emerged after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is necessary to redefine the international context and seek responses, from all economic, political and social actors, to the challenges facing the Region. To continue deepening their integration and continue promoting the structural changes that their economies need, it is important to adapt them to the new needs that have arisen. To address these and other issues, the Minister of Economy of Guatemala, Antonio Malouf, spoke at the event; the executive director of the Regional Center for the Private Sector in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Diana Chávez; the head of the Cabinet in the General Directorate of International Trade and Investments of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism of the Government of Spain, Luis Óscar Moreno; the vice president of the Private Sector of CAF, Jorge Arbache; the president of the Chilean business organization SOFOFA and president pro tempore of the Business Council of the Pacific Alliance (CEAP), Bernardo Larraín; the president of ANDI of the Future, Juan Duarte; and representatives of MERCOSUR. The act was closed by the permanent secretary of CEIB and CEO of CEOE Internacional, Narciso Casado; SEGIB's Head of Economy and Business, Pablo Adrián Hardy; and the general secretary of FIJE, Antonio Magraner.

Opening

The permanent secretary of the Council of Ibero-American Entrepreneurs (CEIB) and CEO of CEOE International emphasized the motto More Ibero-America, coined at the beginning of the pandemic, and which periodically brings together a number of authorities, businessmen and experts , to share approaches, experiences and solutions to issues of great relevance to the Region, its companies, institutions and citizens. He also stressed that this forum is a new example of the collaboration and work that we carry out in the periods between Ibero-American Summits to "strengthen that important tool, and now more than ever, which are the Summits of Heads of State of Ibero-America, and the business meetings that we organize, SEGIB and CEIB within its framework ”.

Multilateralism

During the opening session, the speakers stressed the importance of preserving the safety and health of workers, addressing export restrictions and continuing to boost international and interregional trade, ensuring the continuity of supply chains and security. legal for attracting foreign investment, as a lever for recovery in our countries to get out of the crisis.

In the growing regionalization of global value chains of goods and services, stressed the CEOE president, Antoinio Garamendi, we have to rely on Europe and Latin America as a guarantee of progress, stability and well-being. All this must be done, he assured, based on the axes of multilateralism, collaborating intensively with the various organizations, both from an aspect of strategic planning and implementation of public policies and for their role as "financing" organizations; sustainability; of openness and legal certainty, relaunching interregional relations, closing and consolidating agreements and promoting the signing of free trade agreements, protected by the competitive advantages of each country or region; digitization, promoting technological and innovation policies related to the digitization of our companies and the Public Administration; of the unit, promoting regional cooperation to reinforce and improve economic political relations in relation to the exchange of resources, technology, knowledge and information; and of SMEs, strongly supporting them, since they represent 99% of the business fabric in Latin America and generate around 30% of the Region's GDP. "It is important to make a firm commitment to multilateralism, and that is that we alone arrive faster, but together we go further," he said.

Sustainability

The Secretary General of the Organization of Employers (OIE), stressed that this year marks the 100th anniversary of the Organization and coinciding with this milestone, they have already been observing various transformations in supply chains, thanks to globalization, which has a lot to do with technological and geopolitical developments; Artificial intelligence has also made major changes, reducing costs and improving overall productivity, helping to better predict demand, and do better planning. In this context, he pointed out, the pandemic arises, causing an acceleration of trends, especially in relation to digital transformation, a good example of this is that according to an OECD study “30% or 40% of developed countries have been teleworking. On the other hand, according to the forecasts of the World Trade Organization (WTO), world trade is expected to fall in 2020 between 13% and 32%. In this sense, Suárez stressed that we are facing a new international order, in which sustainability prevails in business models and supply chains. In fact, minimum competition clauses are already included, in order to reinforce this value in the social sphere. In Latin America, there are strong values, such as the level of qualification, a young bonus, democratic institutions from the point of view of trade, and the guidelines necessary to carry out sustainable change, for the sake of greater economic and social development. He also mentioned the importance of better managing the communication of the positive impact of global value chains, which is undervalued in many cases, and which undoubtedly contribute to generating opportunities in the Region.

The Ibero-American Secretary General, Rebeca Grynspan, stressed that the eagerness for dialogue and leadership in these meetings should be appreciated, as they help to go beyond polarization and assume common responsibilities to overcome the crisis. In his opinion, the only way out for Latin America to recover is to build a new social pact and raise the voice of the Region through solidarity and mutual aid with other countries, such as Spain and Portugal. Along these lines, it influenced that the Ibero-American business community and business organizations have shown in these months their most social and supportive face in the pandemic. And this series of "More Ibero-America" ​​dialogues and forums is a sample of more Ibero-America to emerge from the crisis, more Ibero-America to create jobs, to open new markets, to think of new ideas, and more Ibero-America to invest in our people. He also pointed out that opportunities have also arisen in this crisis, as in the case of Mexico, which could benefit from the relocation of United States' supply chains, from Asia to the North American country. He also highlighted the importance of the group of young people, between 15 and 29 years old, which is one of the most talented and educated young generations in History; as well as the opportunity of the European New Green, which benefits the green economy and renewable energy, where the Region is at the forefront. Grynspan stressed that there has never been a more pressing time than now to invest political capital in economic integration, and it must be done “in the Ibero-American style,” that is, giving greater importance to the actors than to the agreements, since they are the true protagonists of integration. In short, he concluded, a long-term vision, commitment and clear rules of the game are required to bet on multilateralism and promote integration, in other words, to make “More Ibero-America”.

Redefining the international context

The executive director of the Regional Center for the Private Sector in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Diana Chávez, also supported Rebeca Grynspan's idea of ​​adopting a solidarity leadership to defend multilateralism. From the center, they have chosen to approach the issue of global value chains from the perspective of the 2030 Agenda as the center of business strategy and as a factor of internal stabilization in times of crisis. The pandemic has put all the actors in society in check, he stressed, and, in this sense, stressed the importance of global value chains in terms of reputation and corporate governance, since when we speak of suppliers we speak on behalf of integral of the operation. Therefore, the 2030 Agenda is a practical roadmap, key to guaranteeing competitiveness, innovation and survival. He also highlighted the importance of sustainability, the green economy and the environment in this new reality that we are facing.

The head of the Cabinet in the General Directorate of International Trade and Investments of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism of the Government of Spain Luis Óscar Moreno highlighted that the trends that had been observed in global value chains (shortening or regionalization) have been exacerbated due to the trade war and the Covid 19. Probably, from now on, the value chains will incorporate factors that go beyond efficiency and the large blocks will determine with their commercial policy the geography of the supplies. In this sense, he assured that there is a greater demand for shorter, less complex and concentrated value chains, which generates opportunities for regionalization of trade with Latin America.

View from the public and private sector

Regarding global value chains, the speakers agreed to point out the growing trend towards regionalization and the challenges that arise in this new redefinition of the international context. In this sense, the president of the Chilean business organization SOFOFA and president pro tempore of the Business Council of the Pacific Alliance (CEAP), Bernardo Larraín, spoke of the reconfiguration in the process of economic recovery, where it can be seen that the economy of Services becomes much more important and creative construction is taking place, representing an opportunity for countries that are well prepared. He also explained that the first globalization focused on pursuing efficiency and low costs, while the second has as its main objective proximity to the consumer. In his opinion, a good scenario is presented to foster public-private partnerships and heralded a renaissance in trade, where diversification in a global world will be key.

For his part, the executive director and chief economist of the Argentine Industrial Union, Diego Coatz, maintained that sustaining the business fabric and employment in the face of the COVID crisis will be essential for the region. In this sense, he considered that policies aimed at promoting exports and avoiding greater losses given the global recession will play a preponderant role and stressed that the new normal agenda will require making the greatest efforts to innovate, accelerate digital and technology transformations 4.0 , as well as rethinking a regional integration scheme that allows adding value at source.

The president of ANDI of the Future, Juan Duarte, in turn, assured that Latin America is experiencing its worst economic crisis in the last 120 years and this has caused the loss of progress in the last 20 years on the poverty line. He also pointed out that regional markets such as the Pacific Alliance will be essential for the restoration of value chains and that in the coming years we will see the results of the forced digital transformation that companies experienced during this pandemic. Duarte also insisted that entrepreneurship should be seen as an engine of development and growth for the country through technological and service transformation and that "we must reconfigure our companies to be able to sell, learn and apply new models through digital. This will allow the services to globalize and develop ”, he stated.

The vice president of the Development Bank of Latin America-CAF, Jorge Arbache, highlighted that "the trend towards regionalization of global value chains is a good opportunity for Latin America to attract and diversify foreign investment and further promote trade intraregional ”. Regarding global value chains, he added, there has been a very significant growth in trade in services, data and some sectors with higher added value, such as intangibles. Arbache further explained that technology had already underwritten the low cost of labor, so it is no longer a decisive factor in the investment factor, and more emphasis can be placed on customization at an increasingly lower cost.

The Guatemalan economy minister, Antonio Malouf, highlighted that in Central America, analyzes related to value chains have been carried out, identifying potential clusters on topics such as tourism, agribusiness, clothing and textiles, among others. "To take advantage of regional opportunities, it is essential to improve transportation infrastructure, as well as advance trade facilitation policies at the regional level," he said. To reactivate global value chains in the Region, it is necessary to make investments with a high level of diversification, enhance competitive advantages, activate the industries that have been most affected by the crisis and promote regional public-private alliances to achieve greater openness in economic development.

Conclusions

The general secretary of the Iberoamerican Federation of Young Entrepreneurs (FIJE), Antonio Magraner, highlighted the importance of public-private partnerships, which not only have to stay in institutions and companies to carry out new projects, but also starting with ourselves through the organization of these forums. In this sense, he assured that we are facing a historic opportunity in relation to global value chains to reduce the strong dependence we have on China and strengthen the Ibero-American region, thanks to a human capital of 700 million people who can achieve a promising future. Likewise, he highlighted the enormous potential and talent of young people in the Region, which represents an important added value to strengthen alliances and unions in the Ibero-American sphere and strengthen global value chains, which are so necessary for economic recovery.

The head of Economy and Business of the Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB), Pablo Adrián Hardy, emphasized the importance of open innovation, since it represents a clear example of collaboration between large, medium and small companies, and is an issue that it is closely linked to other issues mentioned during the seminar, such as digitization, an area in which we have advanced 5 years during the pandemic; or sustainability, guaranteeing human rights and creating products that are more sustainable. "There are no clearer examples of value chains and joint enrichment of large and small companies such as open innovation," he stressed. Adrián also took up the idea of ​​the Ibero-American Secretary General, Rebeca Grynspan, to establish a new social pact in the Region, which, in his opinion, should be done by betting on multilateralism and strengthening joint cooperation.

The permanent secretary of the Council of Ibero-American Entrepreneurs (CEIB) and CEO of CEOE International, Narciso Casado, highlighted the close collaboration between CEIB, SEGIB and FIJE, which has allowed the creation of a joint line of work on issues of vital interest to the Region, such as SMEs and MSMEs, innovation and talent retention, and cross-cutting themes, such as public-private partnerships, creative industries, sustainability, or global value chains. This collaboration between our institutions joins the commitment of business organizations represented under the umbrella of the OIE, to continue promoting dialogue and interconnection, taking advantage of synergies between the different actors and generating a constant flow of information. Casado made a brief review of the ideas mentioned by the various speakers and opted for the "commitment of all and among all, to make more Region, claiming our strategic role and continue creating a more prosperous, integrated, innovative and sustainable Ibero-American space". In addition, he considered that the current situation will lead to an increase in Ibero-American integration and that, through digitization and online connectivity, a greater sense of community will be generated. "This pandemic and everything it brings with it must become an opportunity to learn," he insisted. In this sense, he also explained that crises are often followed by intense, deep, permanent and multidimensional social and economic changes. Hence the importance of strengthening multilateralism as the best tool for dealing with global crises and putting all our efforts to make these changes for the better. Casado opted to maintain that long-term vision and commitment, promoting clear rules of the game to continue defending multilateralism and integration. In short, and as Rebeca Grynspan already said, she concluded, "let's focus on doing more Ibero-America to get out of the crisis, more Ibero-America to create jobs, to open new markets, to think of new ideas, and more Ibero-America to invest in our people" .



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