Emirates News Agency – Latin America’s COVID-led digital shift creates new opportunities for Dubai businesses

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DUBAI, 14th July, 2020 (WAM) — A new wave of rapid digitalisation in Latin America is creating plenty of new business opportunities in e-commerce, digital trade digital services and logistics, which companies in Dubai can capitalise on as they prepare for a post-COVID recovery, industry experts said during a recent webinar organised by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The webinar, titled “How Dubai Supports LatAm-GCC trade to overcome the COVID-19 Pandemic”, was attended by more than 250 participants from South America, Central America, the UAE and other markets.

Addressing participants, Omar Khan, Director of International Offices at Dubai Chamber, noted that Dubai, as a global smart city offers a wealth of expertise in digital services, e-commerce and advanced technologies, which it can lend to Latin American companies as they adapt to a changing business landscape, in addition to the emirate’s strategic position that can help traders diversify exports and expand their reach in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Dubai-Latin America non-oil trade exceeded US$7.6 billion in 2019, marking a 23 percent increase compared to 2017 ($6.2 billion), Khan revealed, adding that there is vast untapped potential that still needs to be explored by businesses on both sides. He noted that the Dubai Chamber’s representative offices in Panama, Brazil and Argentina are actively exploring promising markets across Latin America and identifying opportunities that offer potential to member companies.

“There is plenty of room for resource-rich countries such as Brazil and Argentina to expand cooperation with the UAE on food security, while Panama can serve as a strategic logistics hub to re-export Latin American products to Dubai and the wider GCC region,” Khan said.

Fabrizio Opertti, Manager of the Integration and Trade Sector at the Inter-American Development Bank, spoke about pressing challenges currently being faced by several Latin American markets, such as restrictions on imports and exports and surging demand for medical and food products.

The digital market in Latin America grew by 50 percent per year between 2016 and 2020, Opertti revealed, mentioning remote learning and education as a prime example of an industry witnessing a surge in activity due to COVID-related movement restrictions.

Gonzalo Mórtola, Commercial Director of IAMECA Logistics and Supply, stressed the importance of transparency and predictability in ports management to lower operational costs and said Argentina and other Latin American companies are looking to diversify the supply changes and reduce their reliance on single markets such as China.

Michael Bentley, Director of Business Planning and Development at DP World Americas, noted that DP World has kept all its terminals working to ensure global trade flow and help countries in the region navigate new warehousing and supply-related challenges.

 

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