Aline Quispe reports for La Razon, excerpts follow:
We must admit it, Bolivia does not offer the best scenario for investments. Angel Vazquez
However, he pointed out that the expropriation of Spanish firms does not offer the best scenario to attract new investors. Also announced today [January 10, 2013], along with executives of electrical network of Spain, that will meet with the Government in Cochabamba to treat compensation for the actions of the TDE.
– How relations between Bolivia and Spain are assessed?
– Relations between Bolivia and Spain are relations of friendship (…) because Bolivia is a Latin American country and in general Spain links with the countries of Latin America are always very close. The State is in a process of change (…) that Spain has always viewed with sympathy and that wanted to accompany to the extent of its possibilities. Thanks to this, we can say that the political relationship hispano-boliviano is good.
– What you think about the nationalization of the subsidiaries of the company Spanish Iberdrola?
– You know that the Spanish Government regretted that decision and not so much regretted it because we find that the Bolivian Government has no right to nationalize. We believe that it has that right (…) sovereign and we respect that, but what does not seemed suitable was the way it was done without consultation, with a certain media hype and public force that does not seem appropriate to us.
– What is the prospect of the bilateral relationship for 2013?
– Our confidence is to maintain the same level of closeness and friendship between the two Governments and at the same time continue supporting Bolivia (…). Spanish cooperation expressed that Bolivia will continue to be a priority country (…) and that is important to note because it implies an effort of Spain, when there are difficulties in the economic sphere (…). Spain will keep many cooperation projects with substantial disbursements. At the same time, there is a chapter of relations that affect Spanish investments in Bolivia who need work.
– Expropriation of Iberdrola will affect the arrival of Spanish investment into the country?
– Foreign investment and Spanish investment in particular since then, need legal certainty to come to Bolivia, it is a concept without which international investments are not understood. Bolivia announced repeatedly that it would submit an investment law which regulate these matters. So far did not appear, that is a factor of interrogation.
The expropriation of shares in Iberdrola is the second nationalization of Spanish companies in less than a year, recognizing that there is a right of the Bolivian Government, must admit that it does not offer the best scenario to attract new foreign investment to Bolivia and the country needs investments because it is in full development. It also has the importance to exploit resources and needs capital, technology, the business organization of the foreign firms. Spanish companies in the country have contributed capital, technical capacity and entrepreneurship, have also contributed much to the development of Bolivia and we want to continue to do so, but we need a secure frame of reference and an investment law that specifies the conditions for investing in Bolivia can only offer that.
– Do you consider a bad signal to investors expropriations of Spanish firms in less than a year?
– The nationalization of a company is a sovereign right of the Government (…) and Spain respects strictly, we say Yes is that when there is an expropriation is done in accordance with the international rules and the main rule is that the company receives fair compensation and fair compensation is the value that the firm has in the market not a decreased value.
– What is your view of the decision to nationalize Iberdrola subsidiaries, the State from taking control of the chain of generation, transmission and distribution of electricity?
– If the Government establishes that it must have control of the generation and distribution of electricity is in Spain and its law, it respects it. But I must say that the Iberdrola company subsidiaries came playing a superb technical work. Service provided mainly to La Paz, El Alto, and Oruro, was top quality. I don’t think you can criticize them nothing. In addition, were acquired by Iberdrola to other foreign firms, i.e. that, unlike other companies, is a nationalization which never belonged to the State.
– How are the process with electrical network of Spain (REE)?