Webinar: Cleantech Industry in Chile (S-GE), May 5, 2021, 16.00-17.00

Responsible supply chains: the potential for Switzerland and Chile

Chile has gained worldwide attention with its energy transformation: The South American country is rich in raw materials for a sustainable future and relies on a green growth strategy. Chile requires assistance with its supply chains in the fields of water, recycling and inherited waste clean-up, as well as with financing, insurance and transport. You can find out in our webinar how Swiss cleantech companies can get involved and benefit here and how important traceability is in this regard.

This webinar is organized by our partner Switzerland Global Enterprise. If you wish to read the detailed description and register, please click on the following LINK.

Video meeting LATCAM – Swiss Chilean Chamber of Commerce

The road to future cooperation


LATCAM was delighted to offer its Board members, for the third time, the opportunity for a dynamic virtual exchange with their peers of one of the bilateral Chambers of Commerce. Our discussion with the Board members of the Swiss-Chilean Chamber of Commerce (ScCC) was introduced by welcoming remarks from H.E. Arno Wicki, Ambassador of Switzerland to Chile, who underlined the role of teamwork as an essential factor allowing to maximize resources, especially in difficult times. He mentioned not only the 200 or so Swiss companies that are already established in Chile, but also the young Chilean companies that are increasingly seeking to set foot in Switzerland.

Linda Walker von Graffenried, Vice-President of LATCAM, mentioned some of the activities and future projects of our Chamber in 2021. Following her remarks, Susana Torres, President of SCCC, concluded the introductory statements with a brief summary of the situation in Chile and in particular the successes of the mining industry. Dr. Philippe Nell mentioned especially the great potential of cleantech for the value chains. Vanessa Motterle from the Swiss Business Hub in Santiago emphasized how, in partnership with Switzerland Global Enterprise, they support the business communities in Switzerland and Chile both ways.

On the Swiss side, the participants included Linda Walker von Graffenried, Walker von Graffenried Asset Management, LATCAM Vice President; Gabriela Lippe-Holst, Acqupart Holding, LATCAM Vice President; Tatjana Gaspar, LATCAM Managing Director; Carlos E. Represas, Bombardier (former Nestlé), LATCAM Board Member; Andreas Berger, Swiss Re, LATCAM Board Member; Markus Pölzl, Bühler Group, LATCAM Board Member; Philippe G. Nell, LATCAM Honorary Ambassador; Thomas Foerst, Switzerland Global Enterprise; Martina Bietenhader, Switzerland Global Enterprise.

On the Chilean side, the participants included H.E. Arno Wicki, Ambassador of Switzerland to Chile; Susana Torres, President of the SCCC; Constanza Cárdenas, Managing Director of the SCCC; Vanessa Motterle, Swiss Business Hub Chile; Gonzalo Rojas, Empresas B-Aron Conseil; Marcelo Schumacker, ABB; Germán Fischer, Geobrugg Andina; Max Spiess, Elton & Cía.; Andrés Costa, SGS; Leo Leiman, Nestlé.

Aussenwirtschaftsforum – Zurück zum Wachstum (S-GE)

Our partner Switzerland Global Enterprise is cordially inviting the Swiss export community to the next digital event “Internationales Geschäft in der neuen Normalität”.

For more information on the program and registration, please click on the following LINK.

Consider a debt for vaccines program (Breakingviews)

This article has been sent to us by the co-author, William Rhodes, an esteemed opinion leader and friend of LATCAM. The other co-author, Dr. Cristina Valencia, is an epidemiologist and consultant with the World Health Organization (WHO).

MARCH 9, 20214:13 PM

Breakingviews – Guest view: Consider a debt for vaccines program

By William RhodesCristina Valencia

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Almost a year after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, infections continue to increase in much of the world and especially in Latin America and the Caribbean, where the consequences are already counted in economic, social and political terms. After a race to obtain approval for vaccines worldwide, the focus is on this region, where there is concern that the vaccine may not reach the entire population due to factors such as cost and logistics.

The World Bank predicts that the economies of the region will have accumulated losses of $1.2 trillion in 2020. This means that many countries will have to resort, in the short term, to recurring debt to finance the vaccination programs for their citizens. Pragmatic debt exchange models will be essential if the costs to the region’s governments are to be managed.

Currently, 58.7 million people over 65 years of age live in Latin America and the Caribbean. To vaccinate only this age group, providing two doses to each person, within the span of a full calendar year, the countries of the region would collectively need to vaccinate 321,376 people per day. As of March 1, Our World in Data reports that the countries of the region have collectively administered an average of 3.1 doses per 100 people. These efforts, however, are still concentrated in only a few countries in the region.

Compared to richer countries, most Latin American and Caribbean countries (with the exception of Chile) have not been able to secure enough vaccines to cover their entire population, a fact that becomes more evident when those purchases are restricted only to vaccines that are currently licensed.

It is important to note that buying vaccines is not just a matter of the initial cost of the doses. Contract negotiations require many challenging agreements, including the allocation of risk regarding liability for vaccine side effects, as well as how the companies will be contracted and the logistics for delivery services. The ability to buy large stocks of vaccines in advance ensures that wealthier countries have earlier access to vaccines, given the limited global manufacturing capacity to produce them. Argentina, Brazil and Mexico have recently signed contracts to manufacture vaccines in the region.

Undoubtedly, the cost of the vaccine has risks and benefits for countries that seek to reactivate their economies as rapidly as possible. The Inter-American Development Bank has announced that it will mobilize $1 billion to help the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean acquire and distribute vaccines against Covid-19. These funds will complement the $1.2 billion in resources the IADB committed in 2020. This, however, will not suffice, and more innovative approaches, such as “debt for vaccines” are needed.

The use of debt to purchase vaccines will vary greatly across the region, from the number of vaccines included in national programs to the prioritization of funds to deliver them. The “debt for vaccines” model is based on the notion that by converting outstanding debt, capital is retrieved, which can then be mobilized to implement vaccination campaigns and to purchase external assistance for the purchasing of jabs.

Here’s how it might work. A holder of U.S dollar debt with a par value of $100, but a market value of $70 is willing to contribute that debt to the debtor country in exchange for the country’s using local currency in an amount equal to plus or minus $70 to acquire vaccines. The debt contributed is in effect redeemed in local currency at a discount and discharged in full. A pharmaceutical company agrees to sell vaccines to the country (only at a discount) in exchange for the local currency amount that the country has agreed to pay to redeem the debt contributed to it.

The pharmaceutical company either keeps the local currency for approved productive investment in the country or sells it for U.S dollars to a third-party investor to be used to invest in a project approved by the country. In the end, the debtor country has prepaid its debt in local currency at a discount, the amount prepaid is used to acquire vaccines for the country at no additional cost and the local currency is reinvested in the country or retained by the pharmaceutical company for later use or in a sale to a third party.

Programs, such as this, which help reduce current currency mismatches in vaccine distribution, may be effective approaches to reduce the need for “new money” while at the same time alleviating the current balance sheet with unsustainable “old money” of Latin American countries. Although these debt exchange programs have been used in various developing markets, primarily under the umbrella of “debt for development” and “debt for nature,” risk considerations and possible drawbacks for the various parties need to be considered.

Entities like the World Bank and IADB, among others, have developed their own programs to support the countries’ purchases of vaccines, but they will not be enough. An urgent call needs to be made to pharmaceutical companies to adopt this debt for vaccines model in order to provide the governments of the region with the necessary quantities of the vaccine needed to put a stop to this pandemic. More importantly, this needs to be done in a fast and efficient manner as the rise of new variants of the virus can create constraints to successful vaccination campaign rollouts.

If the “debt for vaccines” model proves to be successful among the Latin American countries, it can be further replicated and used in other developing countries around the world.

Reuters Breakingviews is the world’s leading source of agenda-setting financial insight. As the Reuters brand for financial commentary, we dissect the big business and economic stories as they break around the world every day. A global team of about 30 correspondents in New York, London, Hong Kong and other major cities provides expert analysis in real time.

Sign up for a free trial of our full service at https://www.breakingviews.com/trial and follow us on Twitter @Breakingviews and at www.breakingviews.com. All opinions expressed are those of the authors.


Build the Americas: Infrastructure Linkages for Economic Recovery (connectamericas)

To learn more about this virtual event and register, please click on the following LINK

LATCAM is now a member of the Association of International Chambers of Commerce (AICC)

We are delighted to announce that LATCAM has been accepted as a member of the Association of International Chambers of Commerce. The AICC has been established in Geneva in 2019 and is currently presided by the Camera di Commercio Italiana per la Svizzera.

The objective of the AICC is to organize quality events in the Suisse Romande for the members of all the participating international chambers as well as being open to non-members in the local business community.

The other 13 members of the AICC are:

  • American International Club of Geneva
  • Arab-Swiss Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • British-Swiss Chamber of Commerce
  • Business Club Belgo-Luxembourgeois en Suisse
  • Camera de Commercio Italiana per la Svizzera
  • Canadian-Swiss Chamber of Commerce
  • CCI France Suisse
  • Chamber of Commerce and Industry Switzerland-Turkey
  • Chambre de Commerce Brésil-Suisse
  • Chambre de Commerce, d’Industrie et de Services Suisse-Portugal
  • Swedish-Swiss Chamber of Commerce
  • Swiss-Chinese Chamber of Commerce
  • Union des Chambres de Commerce Suisse-Russie, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Arménie, Azerbaïdjan, Biélorussie, Géorgie, Kirgizistan, Moldavie, Mongolie, Ouzbékistan, Tadjikistan, Turkménistan



LATCAM welcomes the new Ambassador of Argentina in Switzerland

Ramon Esteve, Linda Walker, Dr. Philippe G. Nell and Tatjana Gaspar held a video call with H.E. Ambassador Alberto Pedro d’Alotto from Argentina.

The purpose was to welcome the Ambassador to Switzerland, establish a first contact, present the Chamber with its stakeholders, business-related activities and overall reach.

Argentina is an important economic partner for Switzerland in Latin America, ranking third in exports (CHF 550 mn) for a total trade volume of CHF 1.5 bn and fourth in foreign direct investment (CHF 3.1 bn) with more than 11,000 people.

The institutional framework between both countries, including a Joint Economic Commission, was seen as a very good basis to further strengthen business relations.

The establishment of free trade relations through an EFTA-Mercosur agreement was strongly advocated by LATCAM as it would provide new opportunities to increase economic relations.

The new Ambassador of Argentina explained the ongoing Argentine governmental policy program, aimed at stabilizing the economy to foster development and to overcome current social inequalities.

LATCAM wishes the Ambassador a successful stay in Switzerland and looks forward to a fruitful cooperation.

Sustainable coffee farming in Central America (sponsored by ECOM)

Do you fancy a nice, strong coffee? Do you have sustainability at heart? Here’s a YouTube video featuring passionate coffee producers who care about their sensitive environment.

The company of LATCAM’s President Ramon Esteve, ECOM, a leading Swiss trader in coffee, cocoa and cotton, sponsored the video, which we hope you will enjoy.

To watch the YouTube video, click on the following LINK.

Latin American leaders speak at the WEF’s 2021 “virtual Davos”

To watch the opening of the 2021 “virtual Davos” and get a glimpse of the whole program, click on this LINK.

Subsequently, we are highlighting only the sessions, in which Latin American leaders are participating, and posting the links to the recordings day by day. Here you can see the public part of the sessions. If you wish to see the entire sessions including Q&A, you may have to register with TopLink on the WEF’s website https://www.weforum.org (Sign-in).


January 25 

Alicia Bárcena Ibarra, Secretary General of ECLAC/CEPAL, speaks on the panel of Unlocking Social Entrepreneurship for the Recovery.






To watch the session, click on this  LINK.


January 26

Carlos Brito, Chairman of Anheuser-Busch Inbev, speaks on the panel of Designing Connected and Sustainable Value Chains (Option 2).






To watch the session, click on this LINK.


João Doria, Governor of the State of São Paulo, and Juan José Pocaterra, CEO and Co-Founder of ViKua, Member of the Board of the Young Entrepreneurs Association of Venezuela, speak on the panel of Rethinking Cities for a post-COVID Future (Option 2).


To watch the session, click on this LINK.


January 27

Tereza Cristina Corrêa da Costa Dias, Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply of Brazil, speaks on the panel of Unlocking Innovation to Transform Food Systems.






To watch the session, click on this LINK.


Diego Mesa, Minister of Mining and Energy of Colombia, speaks on the panel of Accelerating Clean Energy Transitions.






To watch the session, click on this LINK.


Marisol Argueta de Barillas, Head of Latin America and Member of the Executive Committee of the WEF, Mauricio Claver-Carone, President of the IDB/BID, Ivan Duque, President of Colombia, Hamilton Mourão, Vice-President of Brazil, Maria Alexandra Moreira López, former Minister of Environment and Water of Bolivia, speak on the panel of Financing the Amazon’s Transition to a Sustainable Bioeconomy.






To watch the session, click on this LINK.


María Carolina Schmidt Zaldívar, Minister of Environment of Chile, speaks on the panel of Paving the Way to COP26: Mission Possible Partnership.

To watch the session, click on this LINK.


Carlos Alvarado Quesada, President of Costa Rica, speaks on the panel of Transforming Food Systems and Land Use (Option 2).






To watch the session, click on this LINK.


Carlos Manuel Rodríguez Echandi, Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica, Roberto de Oliveira Marques, CEO and Executive Chairman of the Board, Natura & Co., speak on the panel of Building a Net-Zero, Nature Positive Economy (Option 2).

To watch the session, click on this LINK.


January 28

Carlos María Correa, Director of the Center of Interdisciplinery Studies on Industrial Property and Economics, University of Buenos Aires, speaks on the panel of Resetting the Business of Data and AI in Healthcare (Option 1).

To watch the session, click on this LINK.


Angel Gurría, Secretary General of the OECD, speaks on the panel of Skilling the Global Workforce.

To watch the session, click on this LINK.


Ivan Duque, President of Colombia, speaks on the panel of Harnessing the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Option 2).

To watch the session, click on this LINK.


Luis Felipe de Oliveira, Director General of Airports Council International (ACI), speaks on the panel of Restoring Cross-Border Mobility (Option 2).

To watch the session, click on this LINK.


Special Address by Alberto Fernández, President of Argentina.

To watch the session, click on this LINK.


Patricia Espinosa Cantellano, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, Head of the UN Secretariat for the Climate Convention, María Carolina Schmidt Zaldívar, Minister of Environment of Chile, Gonzalo Múñoz, Founder of TriCiclos and Climate Champion, speak on the panel of Mobilizing Climate Action for COP26.

To watch the session, click on this LINK.


January 29

Ernesto Araújo, Foreign Minister of Brazil, speaks on the panel of Resetting Geopolitics (Option2).

To watch the session, click on this LINK.


Rodrigo Yáñez, Director General of International Economic Relations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile, speaks on the panel of Accelerating Digital Trade.

To watch the session, click on this LINK.