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Field Updates from Colombia

As Japan and Colombia celebrate 112 years of diplomatic relations this year, the world’s third-largest economy remains the largest Asian investor in the South American economy and plans to further expand its investment in the country. And following the signing of a tax treaty in 2018, Japan and Colombia seek to further strengthen their economic partnership and harmonize their cooperation in trade and tax matters.

Continuing its coverage of South America in The Japan Times, GMI Post explores Colombia’s partnership with Japan and will cover the cities of Medellin, Cartagena, and Cali. Seven years after its previous report on Colombia, GMI Post’s team will expand its scope into more sectors, such as legal services, agriculture, food & beverage, education and hospitality.

Kristine Crouch, Danelle Ong and Maria Sanchez report from the field. Follow their updates here, here and here.


Colombia ushers in new era for workers and foreign investors

When our team met the Deputy Minister of Labor Carlos Alberto Baena, who has served the government in various capacities since 2001, he outlined the numerous initiatives that took place over the past two years and underlined the positive achievements in the country’s different sectors.

Among the Minstry of Labor’s biggest achievements is improving the lives for retried senior citizens under a program called "Colombia Mayor," which has created new work opportunities for pensioners and provide discounts to public health programs and medical expenses.

With Deputy Minister of Labor Carlos Alberto Baena

“We also acknowledge the beginning of a stronger social dialog and the promotion of equality in the economic development of the nation. This means business owners and workers will be able to have better relationships and see an increase of salaries without affecting businesses. Through these strengthened dialogs, we saw the highest registered basic salary increase since 2013, when the negotiations started. Now, we see that these negotiations happening every two years,” Baena said.

That was an important step for the ministry because it drove other projects that benefited foreign investment by reducing unemployment, particularly among new college graduates, and providing qualified workers for new investors.

Through continuous dialogue and partnerships, several entities have come up with innovative ideas to highlight the qualifications and skills of Colombia’s fresh graduates. The government is also looking into how to expand this effort into more institutions of higher education as more students look for work and more companies – local and foreign – seek more workers.

The government is very confident that its labor-related incentives will benefit Colombia’s labor and industrial sector just as the country positions itself as an ideal destination for investment.

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