We are happy to present you the first edition of the International Student Project: HOLATAM. Besides China, India, the ASEAN region and the United States – regions that are already covered by existing projects – this new project focuses on Latin American countries. Why should Latin American countries be more in our spotlight and why exactly now?
International Students Programs – over 20 years of impressive history
More than 20 years ago, the first international student project "Insight China" went abroad to explore cultural and economic differences between China and Switzerland. During the last years, three more projects were added: Explore ASEAN, Focus India and connectUS. Even with all the established projects, an important part of this globe was missing: Latin America. Therefore, in 2023 the first edition of HOLATAM takes place. We are ready to say: hola, latinoamérica!
Latin America and Switzerland – trading alliances with growing importance
In 2021, according to the Economic Relations Report 2022, the Latin American economy recovered from recent years and reached an economic growth of 6.8% whereby it overperformed the overall world economy growth by 1.1%.
For Switzerland, Latin American countries additionally serve as important trading partners. In 2021 the exports to Latin America amounted to CHF 6.06 billion, whereby pharmaceutical products maintained the main export good with around 47%, followed by chemicals, machinery and watches or precision instruments. On the import side, the main position with 74% is gold, followed by agricultural products, means of transport, machinery and optical as well as medicinal instruments.
To facilitate the trading situation between Switzerland and Latin American countries, several free trade agreements were concluded with countries such as Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Chile. In August 2019, the EFTA states further succeeded in concluding such an agreement with the MERCOSUR states. The regional trading alliance MERCOSUR consist of the countries Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay which jointly build the 4th largest trading market in the world. The free trade agreement here aims not only to liberalize trade but simultaneously serves to promote sustainable development.
Peru and Colombia: Focus for the first edition
In our first edition we will strive to analyze and experience the challenges of responsible production and consumption in Peru and Colombia in comparison to Switzerland. Why these two countries?
Beside the existing free trade agreements, Peru and Colombia are priority countries for the economic development cooperation of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco). Furthermore, Colombia is Switzerland's 4th largest trading partner amongst Latin American Countries. On the other side, Peru placed a focus on sustainable farming and CO2 emission agreements with Switzerland. We will focus on the relationships and exchanges between three countries that have differences but also agreements and common goals. We are excited to learn more about these two countries and explore them from an economical, responsible and cultural perspective on our journey! Do you want to accompany us on our journey? Follow us on LinkedIn or Instagram to stay updated!