GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Title of Paper:
The slow emergence of Gulf-Latin American business networks
Paper Proposal Text :
Over the last few years, governments from the GCC countries and Latin America have make a lot of efforts to strengthen the economic and commercial ties between their two regions, even though neither the MERCOSUR nor Chile was able to sign a Free Trade Agreement with the GCC as a framework for enhancing these relations. However, States initiatives are only one dimension of what needs to be done for encouraging bi-regional flows of trade and investment (see Gibson, 2005). Without the interest and commitment of the private business sector, the programmatic policies planed by governmental institutions will not have any effect on the ground and will remain a dead letter.

This paper focuses on the emergence of Gulf-Latin American business networks as pioneers of the development of new market opportunities on both sides. First, we will describe who they are, by mapping the existing business associations, bi-national chambers of commerce and consultancy firms, which work at bridging the gap between the two regions. In a second section, we will examine the pivotal role of the Latin American export promotion agencies (EPAs) present in the Gulf region, in providing a crucial logistic support for organizing the encounter of the business leaders from both sides, and reporting their concerns to their national policy-makers. Finally, we will show how interregional institutions – the intergovernmental Arab-South American Summit (ASPA) and the Arab Latin American Forum (ArlaForum) – have offer a platform to improve a region-to-region business dialogue whose actual main beneficiaries in the Arab world have been the Gulf businessmen.

For this research, we are using primary data, official documents produced by the EPAs, semi-structured interviews with high-level officials and key Latin American entrepreneurs, as well as press articles and secondary sources. The comparison with business communities’ role in other interregional experiences will also enrich our analysis.


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