OLD TIES

Peru 2015 | ECONOMY | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Xavier Urios, General Manager of Cámara de Commercio de España (COCEP), on boosting economic ties between Peru and Spain.

What is the history of COCEP in Peru?

The COCEP is the second oldest chamber of commerce in the country, with over 120 years of history, however under its current name, it legally dates back to 1968, before which it was the Cámara de Comercio de Lima. Five years ago COCEP started a new initiative that aimed to bolster economic relations between Peru and Spain. We now have 275 members, compared with only 165 members five years ago. We have four main objectives: to promote bilateral commerce between Peru and Spain; to provide companies with the best possible service offering; to organize seminars, conferences, meetings, and workshops; and to promote responsible management, seeking new skills, tools, and techniques to improve corporate management among our members. This not only covers business practices, but also areas like social development and corporate social responsibility. We have two departments in the COCEP: the first promotes international commerce through three different kinds of services, namely commercial contacts, commercial intelligence, and legal implementation; and the second department takes care of social business activities at the COCEP.

What are your most recent activities?

There are around four major activities staged per year at the COCEP. “Visiones" is our most important corporate social function of the year. Another key event is our annual Spanish-Peruvian summit, which assembles ministers, politicians, officials, and business leaders from both countries for talks on, say, means of developing trade. Last year, for example, the topic was “Applied Innovations for the Development of Society." This year we will focus on the topic of “OCDE AGENDA" on May 18 and 19. Another major annual award is the most outstanding Spanish and Peruvian person of the year. Two years ago we gave the award to Mario Vargas Llosa, and last year to Familia Añaños. We also have regular legal and business seminars and work breakfasts with key figures from various sectors. Last year we had a topic called “A Study of the Impact of Spanish Investment in Peru." We signed an agreement with Pacifico University to organize an economic research team, which provided us with our most detailed study of Spanish investment in this country. Our study encapsulated all 386 legal and registered Spanish companies in Peru, although there may be up to 500 companies operating in Peru in total, and we now have an excellent idea of the size and impact of Spanish investment in Peru, which amounted to around $10 billion in 2012.

How important are Spanish companies for Peru and what is the extent of their involvement in Peru's infrastructural and economic development?

When you consider the ongoing major Spanish infrastructure projects in Peru, like the Linea 2 project for the metro, the modernization of the Talara refinery, and other such contracts, the above-mentioned figure is expected to double within two years. My job is to attract Spanish companies, businesses, and businessmen to Peru. I consistently focus on our potential in terms of technology innovation capacity in infrastructure and construction. We have more than 25 years of experience in developing technology companies. There are certain advantages that Spanish companies have here. A Spanish company today can offer cutting-edge technology at a lower price than many Peruvian companies. There have been some huge projects undertaken by Spanish companies as a result, like the Linea 2 of the Lima Metro, the contract signed last year between the state and Técnicas Reunidas for the modernization of Talara refinery, and Repsol's modernization of the La Pandilla refinery. All in all, Spanish companies are involved in 15 of Peru's largest projects in innovation and technology. For example, all of the Peruvian solar energy programs and half of the wind energy programs are being undertaken by Spanish companies.

“The COCEP is the second oldest chamber of commerce in the country."

© The Business Year - April 2015