My deep impressions of the Asia Latin American Legal Summit @ Conrad Centennial on April 11 2012
-Presented by Duane Morris & Selvam LLP in association with Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Colombia and Argentina
Video clip of Introduction
This Summit is the initiative of my old friend, HE Eduardo Ramos-Gomez, formerly Mexican Ambassador to Singapore, also Brunei, now Managing Partner of Duane Morris & Selvam LLP, Singapore & Asia.
A true blue diplomat, it is no wonder my good friend Eduardo did a wonderful orchestration of a team of diplomats and august speakers for the Summit which is also a Latin American Investment Summit, as it traverses the legal landscape of investment potentials in Latin America with the outside world, with Asia in particular. It is impossible to cover all the Latin countries but the Latin nations represented in this Summit can offer their investments to the outside world.
It is a two-day event with seminar on the first day (11 April 2012) and individual meetings on the second day at the Conrad Centennial. The list of speakers is like a Roll of Honours comprising our Guest-of-Honour, HE Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law, Republic of Singapore, Latin Ambassadors as well as non- resident Ambassadors of Singapore to the Latin nations, legal practitioners, The Tecma Group LP and international accounting firm Ernst & Young.
Registration started at 8am with light breakfast served as it was a long day with morning and afternoon tea breaks. Even the lunch break was subjected to a keynote address by HE Ambassador Burhan Gafoor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore, who ‘swore’ to protest to our organizer Eduardo for depriving him of a lingering Latin lunch. A typical Latin lunch takes 5 hours for a 5-course lunch, normally!
Owing to the long list of speakers, it is hard for them to share all they wish to, as each speaker has less than 10 minutes of presentation for some, about 20 minutes for the major speakers. It was amusing to see the time-keeper trying so hard to remind some speakers that ‘it is time’. I had to remark in jocular style at my table : he does not want to know (alluding to one august speaker).
Now to each Latin country:
1.Brazil. We are aware Brazil belongs to the BRIC countries. The investment climate was covered by HE Mr Luis Fernando Serra, Ambassador of Brazil to Singapore, then HE Mr Choo Chiau Beng, Ambassador of Singapore to Brazil. Ms Isabel Franco and Ms Ludmila Braga, partners of KLA-Koury Lopes Advogados, gave some interesting insights into the legal system of Brazil with its slant for investments by foreigners.
2. Peru. HE Mr Armando Raul Patino Alvistur, Ambassador of Peru to Singapore and Mr Ramiro Rodriguez, Director of Duane Morris & Selvam LLP, covered investing opportunities in Peru, and the integration of the Stock Markets of Colombia, Peru and Chile.
3.Colombia. Mr Isaac Tcachman, Honorary Consul of Colombia to Singapore together with Mr Ernesto Cavalier, Partner of Posse, Herrera & Ruiz and Mr Ramiro Rodriguez, Director of Duane Morris & Selvam LLP, covered investment opportunities in Colombia.
4.Mexico. HE Mr Antonio Villigas, Ambassador of Mexico to Singapore , HE Mr Leong Horn Kee, Ambassdor of Singapore to Mexico, and Ms Cristina Sanchez Urtiz, partner of Miranda & Estavillo, SC, gave very interesting pointers about investing in Mexico. Mr Miguel de Leon Perez gave further legal aspects of the Mexican Immex Program. Mr K Alan Russell, CEO of The Tecma Group, LP covered manufacturing in Mexico and the Immex Program.
Mr Luis Coronado and Mr Andy Baik, partners of Ernst & Young covered common tax issues in Latin America.
At the end of the seminar was a panel of law firms and trade agencies to cover case studies on the following:
2.Oil and Gas and Mining
4.Real Estate and the Stock Market.
The moderator was the ‘maestro’ Mr Eduardo Ramos-Gomez and the Panelists were from Mexico, Colombia, Brazil , Argentina and Mr G Jayakrishnan, Group Director, International Operations (Americas) Group IE Singapore, with closing of Summit by Mr Ho Meng Kit, CEO of Singapore Business Federation.
I am very impressed by the coming together of this summit to showcase the legal climate and investment opportunities in Latin America which are rising throughout the world. One factor which is also conducive to global trade or investment is the common understanding and usage of the English language, which has been accepted as the language of doing business globally.
One vital piece of information that strikes me hard is the advantages for the States to do manufacturing in Mexico over China, due to the proximity of Mexico with the States. Other vital factors are strict protection of copyrights laws, lower transportation costs and lower labour costs in Mexico as compared with say, China.
The representatives of these Latin countries are open to any association to forge trade or investment ties in their countries and the best way is to contact their respective embassies.
Mexico steps out of Brazil’s shadow