Mauricio González

Optima Ballistics Glass

Zona Franca La Cayena


  1. What was the determining factor for you to take the decision to participate in the Free Trade Zone?

My company is located in Panama. It was founded 10 years ago in a FTZ. We are an exporter of armoured glass for cars. To start operations in Colombia we decided to take advantage of all the benefits of a FTZ.

  1. Point out 5 factors how the Free Trade Zone help to increase the exportation of your products or services.

The most important is that 99% of all our primary materials are imported so we don´t pay taxes on these that in one way or another are going to be part of the finished product that we are going to export.

My process is continually looking for technological improvement to make our product better, so bringing machinery here helps us to release stain on cash flow.

All the tax benefits allow us to show our partners in the Head Office the return on benefits in the short and long term.

Being in a FTZ all the control authorities give us a vote of confidence like DIAN and Antinarcoticos. To be in a FTZ is like having a medal to show that your product meets all the specifications that the authorities require to export, making the process easier.

We are close to the port, which means that the communication flow is effective with the FTZ.

  1. Indicate 3 characteristics that the Free Trade Zone has that promote the competitiveness of your operation.

It makes our company very competitive, more so than those outside a FTZ.

Because the tax benefits the return on our investments is faster enabling us to reinvest quickly in the short term.

I feel that being in a FTZ we have a lot of support from organisations such as Probarranquilla, Camara de Comercio and the Ministerio de Comercio Exterior. They help a company be more competitive, it is like having a partner.

  1. Why do you consider the Free Trade Zones generate development and investment?

The FTZs have very interesting benefits for foreign investors. Obviously this impacts on the development of the region. For example 50% of my employees come from the local community of Juan Mina. It was considered one of the most vulnerable and deprived zones so we had a positive social impact on the development of this community.

  1. Since being in the Free Trade Zone what are the most important benefits that you have given to the region?

he first and most important for me is employment. We started on 1 January and now we have 70 employees, and project to have at least 120 direct employees by the end of the year. We are having a positive impact on the region creating employment and because we are paying legal salaries the region is able to do more social work.

  1. What economic and social benefits has the Free Trade Zone contributed to your company and the region?

My company taxes advantage of the tax benefits. However the work we, and others in the FTZ, are doing with Juan Mina benefits the region in a very positive way. They not only supply a workforce but also the women in the community are paid to produce the work clothing for the workers.

  1. Do you consider the FTZ as being a stable industrial model?

I am completely sure of that. I think we have to think of our country as a company. A company that is not dynamic and is not looking to be competitive and is not looking to be an attractive investment, in time will be lost. So countries should be looking in this way for mechanisms to attract investment and meet legal obligations. From my point of view this is essential to help the countries development over the next few years; I hope it is something that never ends.

  1. Do you think that being part of the FTZ contributes to helping make your products more competitive in international markets?

Yes we have an operation in Panama producing armoured glass for cars. To produce 100 sets (for 100 cars) in Panama results in losing money. To produce the same 100 sets in Colombia results in a large profit. This is a clear example of how important Colombia is to production and manufacture.

To export to Venezuela from Panama attracts a tax of 50%, but from Colombia there is no tax.

To produce in Colombia to a high quality with very reasonable costs allows me to increase the production, sales and profit.

  1. Has being part of a FTZ allowed you to be recognised in Colombia and Internationally?

For me it is all about my marketing strategy in the countries I wish to do business. The FTZ helps me to be competitive and allows me to invest in a marketing plan. We work hard to make our brand recognisable to our clients.

 

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