A visiting delegation from the Falkland Islands Chamber of Commerce heard on Monday from the Vice-Chairman of the Uruguay-British Chamber of Commerce, Guillermo Wild, that Uruguay offered unrivalled opportunities for trade and access to Latin American markets.
Speaking to a packed conference room in the After Hotel in Pocitos, Mr Wild outlined why, Uruguay, with its excellent port facilities at the geographic centre of Latin America, offered an excellent climate for trade and business development. Low rates of corruption, a stable financial sector and friendly regulations regarding the movement of capital provided an excellent economic climate. This, said Mr Wild, was especially true when combined with the Uruguayan Governments ´Temporary Admissions´ regime which allows for tax exemptions on certain goods and materials to be used in the production of goods for exportation to third countries and also permitted total taxation relief on certain goods brought into the country specifically for re-exportation within certain fixed time limits.
The head of the fourteen-member Falkland Islands delegation, Mr Roger Spink, who is President of the Falkland Islands Chamber of Commerce and Managing Director of the archipelago’s largest trading company, the Falkland Islands Company (FIC), gave a brief presentation on the structure and membership of the Chamber and outlined the reasons for the visit of a delegation which included representatives of nearly all the sectors of economic activity in the Islands.
With the lead-up to the exploitation of the discovery of oil in the Sea Lion field to the North of the Islands and the expectation of further similar discoveries, the economy of the Falklands was, said Mr Spink, poised for a period of unprecedented growth and development. Given its geographical location, a long and friendly history of trading with the Islands and the existence of a containerised shipping link, Uruguay was ideally poised to participate in and benefit from this growth. There was good business to be done with the Falklands now, but this was as nothing when compared with possible future volumes. The purpose of the delegation’s visit was not primarily to fill order books at this time, but to develop contacts and links which would bear fruit in the not too distant future.
Mr Spink´s presentation was prefaced by an introduction from the Falkland Island Government’s Director of Agriculture and Fisheries, Mr John Barton, who said that having spent some of his formative years in the British School in Montevideo, he was delighted to have the opportunity to return. Mr Barton gave his solemn assurance that the Government of the Falkland Islands could be relied upon to back any trade initiatives arising from the Chamber of Commerce delegation’s visit. With the exception of alcohol and tobacco products, there were no goods subject to import duty and the procedures for goods requiring certification, like fresh food stuffs, were straightforward and transparent.
While in the Uruguayan capital the Falkland Islands delegation had a packed programme of visits and activities, culminating on Wednesday night with a reception at the British Embassy, hosted by Ambassador Ben Lyster-Binns.
Aside from a great number of productive meetings and contacts made, perhaps the highlight of the visit came with the delegation’s enthusiastic upport of the Uruguayan 3-2 victory over Argentina at the Millennium Stadium. “It was a great moment for Uruguay” said Mr Spink “and we were thrilled to be able to share in it.”
By John Fowler - MercoPress - Montevideo