2005 Latin American Business Conference explores ‘cross-border opportunities’
2/1/2005 - Burgeoning trade between the United States and Latin America is creating many opportunities for investors, businesses and entrepreneurs in both regions, experts reported at the 2005 Latin American Business Conference, held Feb. 12 at the James L. Allen Center.
Bruce Boren ’95, CEO of Televisa Networks, said his company owns 21 channels distributed in more than 1,100 pay TV systems in 42 countries. The company is the fastest-growing sector of Group Televisa, the largest media conglomerate in the Spanish-speaking world.
Boren said Group Televisa is at a crossroads. “We’re too big for Mexico, where we have 75 percent of the broadcast TV market, but too small for the world,” he said, noting that the situation should change as the company continues to expand into other countries.
John Stanham, partner and managing director of Mesoamerica Investments, based in Costa Rica, credits CAFTA—the Central America Free Trade Agreement—for making the business boom possible. “This agreement, which we hope will be approved this year, is the single largest and most dramatic event to stimulate the economy,” he said.
But CAFTA will not solve the issues of poverty, health and lack of education, he noted. “These require specific and more direct mechanisms to enable the economic benefits of CAFTA to have spillover effects to the rest of the society. This was a lesson learned from the Mexican NAFTA agreement that led to the development of a specific agenda within CAFTA.”
One panel at the conference explored mergers and acquisitions involving Latin American companies. The second panel looked at how Latin American and U.S. businesses are wooing Hispanic-American consumers, who account for $700 billion in purchasing power.
The conference was coordinated by the Kellogg School’s Latin American, Hispanic and Iberian Management Association (LAHIMA) and the Hispanic Business Student Association.