SELA economic bloc launches Free Trade Zones portal
Caracas.- The Permanent Secretary of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic System (SELA), Ambassador Roberto Guarnieri, has announced the launching of an Internet portal specialized in free trade zones as of 11 Jun 2014. The portal can be accessed through the Web site of the organization (www.sela.org) and is aimed at promoting knowledge and exchange of information among experts about those production and international trade areas.
In view of the renewed importance gained by free trade zones as mechanisms to not only promote exports, but also productive diversification, foreign investment and technology transfers, SELA held the Conference of Government Authorities on Free Trade Zones in Latin America and the Caribbean, in Cali, Colombia, in September 2012. Participants in the event agreed that free zones have become an important instrument for the productive and industrial development of Latin American and Caribbean countries, especially because of their capacity to transform economically and socially depressed territories into real centres of development, for their impact on competitiveness, their logistics, and their capacity to create productive linkages and to foster the development of production of goods and services with increasingly intense technological activities.
As a result, the conference adopted the initiative to establish, within the framework of SELA, a bank of knowledge and exchange of information on industrial and free trade zones existing in Latin America and the Caribbean. A proposal was made to include, among others, monitoring of industrial policies and promotion instruments related to free trade zones, the evolution of their activities, their integration with the productive sector of the national customs territory and the trends of businesses within these zones, based on common indicators to measure their performance and development.
SELA started to work on this initiative in 2013 and it was included in the Work Program for 2014 as a project for designing and operating a Web portal on free trade zones in Latin America and the Caribbean. Ambassador Guarnieri said that, in the area of Information and Communication Technologies, this specialized portal is the response to the need identified in this field and forms part of the program to support integration and policies for economic and social development in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The portal has been designed in accordance with avant-garde usability and accessibility criteria, so that users may find useful and relevant information on this topic. Therefore, in addition to being a bilingual portal, its contents include a directory of free trade zones in Latin America and the Caribbean, a compendium of public policies of interest, a directory of business associations related to the subject, direct links to organizations and national institutions in charge of official statistics, links to upcoming and past events, publications and news, among other features.
The Latin American and Caribbean Economic System (SELA) is a regional intergovernmental organization that groups 28 Latin American and Caribbean countries. With headquarters in Caracas, Venezuela, SELA was established on 17 October 1975 by the Panama Convention and its current membership includes Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, Uruguay and Venezuela.
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