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Manuel Herrera Gerente General, Zona Franca La Cayena

COLOMBIA - Economy

Manuel Herrera

Gerente General, Zona Franca La Cayena

Bio

Manuel Herrera graduated from the Universidad del Norte in Barranquilla and has an MBA from the Universidad de Los Andes in Bogotá. His experience in the free trade regime began as Financial Director of Zona Franca Argos, an industrial group of which he was a part for 14 years. Later he assumed the administrative and financial management of Alfacer del Caribe for seven years, a company qualified as an industrial user of goods and services in the La Cayena Free Trade Zone, and here he had the opportunity to participate in the growth and development of this industrial complex. Since 2015, he has been the General Manager of the La Cayena Free Trade Zone

"One significant benefit of the free trade zone is the favorable tax regime that provides stability, particularly for companies engaged in foreign trade, including both import and export activities."
What are the main competitive advantages offered by Zona Franca?

One significant benefit of the free trade zone is the favorable tax regime that provides stability, particularly for companies engaged in foreign trade, including both import and export activities. The recent tax reform has further solidified this regime, establishing a sense of tax neutrality for transactions within the free zone. Specifically, all imports made within the free zone are exempt from taxes and duties, which translates to a significant advantage in terms of cash flow for companies with a strong focus on exports or those serving the local market with significant import components. Moreover, companies that export from the free zone continue to enjoy differentiated income tax rates compared to those outside the free zone. Another notable strength of our free zone is the diverse range of economic sectors it encompasses, reflecting the broader economy of the country within the industrial park. Currently, from Zona Franca La Cayena we operate more than 15 sectors of the economy, ranging from aeronautics with American companies that manufacture and assemble fuel supply vehicles for aircraft, to the food and beverage sector, life sciences, metalworking, and even the cosmetics sector. This diversity creates resilience, as a struggling economic sector can be offset by another sector that is performing well, generating productive synergies that contribute to national economic stability and growth. Furthermore, within the free trade zone, there are ample opportunities for companies to access a wide range of supplies without needing to go outside the zone, fostering productive linkages and chains that further enhance its attractiveness.

From which countries do most of the companies located in the free trade zone come from?

A significant portion, 45% to be precise, of the companies operating in our free trade zone are of foreign origin. Notably, we have seen the entry of Japanese companies, including the first-ever direct Japanese investment in Barranquilla, with a chemical sector company setting up operations. In addition, we have also attracted Spanish, Chinese, Venezuelan, and American companies, among others. In fact, we have garnered direct investment from more than 10 countries, with Spain, the US, Japan, and China being prominent among them.

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