From Los Tiempos:
Minister of British State for Latin America, Jeremy Browne, who said that Bolivia has the great weakness of not being able to attract foreign investment and that many British companies would not be interested in doing business in the country by the background of expropriation.
According to a note published by Los Tiempos in its yesterday edition [3/18/12], Browne said in London, during a meeting with the Bolivian community last February, that the nationalization of the actions of the British Rurelec electrical generator in Guaracachi, and other companies [were the reasons that] frightened British investors because, in some cases, they resulted in disputes between investors and the Government of Bolivia.
Also noted that the specter of government expropriation in Bolivia “has a negative impact” on the predisposition of the United Kingdom to invest in the country.
Although Romero [Bolivian minister] insisted that the British Minister’s statements are “only an opinion”, the Cochabamba private entrepreneurs indicated that if a senior official refers to the situation of investment in Bolivia it is not an isolated but “of the British Government” position.
The President of the Federation of Private Entrepreneurs of Cochabamba (FEPC), Jaime Ponce, indicated that the private sector was concerned with the external image of Bolivia and noted that with only national and State investment the country cannot fulfill their goals – which the Government is fixed – the development especially in the area of exploitation and industrialization of natural resources.
“Please generate an economic agenda for the country and clearly see the powers of what makes the State and what we have to do as private.” “We ask where we can begin a sincere dialogue,” he added.
Private capital has other destinations in the region
The President of the Federation of Private Entrepreneurs of Cochabamba (FEPC), Jaime Ponce, said there was a large influx of foreign capital in Latin America and this investment has Bolivia neighbouring countries as destinations.
“Peru is one of the countries that has captured more, Chile constantly receives investment like Brazil. Unfortunately we do not have the level of investment that we need. We do not see that we are giving opportunities for productive development, [we need] national and international investments,” he said.
He added, you must adjust the legal framework in Bolivia and begin to attract these investments that are coming to the region which is seen as a safe haven by investors before the crisis in Europe and United States.
The British Minister of State for Latin America, Jeremy Browne, pointed out that, compared with the people of Peru, [he] perceived the Bolivians are “cautious with regard to opportunities” as for example the exploitation of lithium. He also highlighted the cases of Chile and Panama as outstanding examples of economies that host foreign investment in the region.
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