Rosa María Gamarra - General Manager Zona Franca de Occidente
Adaptation, a concept that has been one of the most mentioned during the last months of this year and applied to both large and small companies in our country, has pressured us, in a good sense, to re-evaluate our business strategies in order to evolve and continue operating.
The isolation and the limitations of access that have been executed due to the covid-19 pandemic have shown the need to increasingly implement tactics that contemplate the development of e-commerce or the use of digital platforms in organizations. There are many challenges that we have had to face, but at the same time, we have managed to visualize the great opportunities to advance and enter the global era of the digital revolution.
In the case of the free trade zones, which we have not stopped operating, we have been working hand in hand with all the actors in the chain in order to meet the demands that were made, especially in elements for the health sector. Through the use of new and diverse proposed initiatives, we have managed to maintain the attraction of foreign investment, the generation and maintenance of jobs, the incentive of supply in exports to different countries, and the transfer of new technologies.
It is important to emphasize that given the strategic value of the free trade zones, they will play a transcendental role in the reactivation of the national economy, not only because of the above, but because the benefits granted by the regime will help cash flow and empower entrepreneurs, and likewise, these benefits added to the free trade zone regime will be a stimulus that will attract investors.
Thus, announcements such as the implementation of free trade zones for e-commerce for imports, made by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, give a huge leap in Colombia's international trade, strengthening mainly the SME sector so that they can export under the various incentives that exist in the free trade zones.
It is so important in economic and social terms, that it would manage to maintain employment even more and promote the use of technologies by modifying the principle of exclusivity that currently has the free zones and allowing companies to hire positions that can work remotely being necessary their presence only in specific cases.
The virtual Free Zone, in that sense, can be a trading platform to encourage the sales of products and services of users in each free zone, without limit or restriction and following great revolutionaries as they have been companies like Amazon, Ebay and Alibaba, contributing to the economy, as I mentioned and creating more business opportunities.
This, in turn, would bring benefits in a significant reduction of costs of the companies located in the free zone because it will facilitate the logistic planning and distribution of goods, with more flexible schedules and reducing delivery times.
It will be necessary to transmit to the investor that in Colombia there is a legal and tax stability on the benefits that are had, because otherwise, many clients would be restrained. Similarly, a representative and participatory structure that contains the perspective from different angles, legal stability for all the actors in the chain and legislation will be essential for this initiative to prosper.