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Luis Guillermo Plata

Luis Guillermo Plata

Minister of Trade,
Industry and Tourism of Colombia


Speaker > Biography

Luis Guillermo Plata, Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism, is the voice of business in the Colombian government.  A former consultant from McKinsey and Company, successful entrepreneur and former CEO of Proexport, Colombia’s export, tourism and investment promotion agency, this Harvard MBA graduate is all about getting results.  His years in the private sector, as well as experience in Japan, China and Taiwan, have shaped his vision: to transform Colombia into a model of productivity, equality, and growth, open to trade and attractive to both foreign investment and tourism.

A top priority for Minister Plata is to generate prosperity for all Colombians, through opening global markets for Colombian companies.  His goal for 2010 is to open up the Colombian economy by completing nine free trade agreements with fourty five countries, and he is well on his way.  Trade agreements have been negotiated and signed with the US, Chile, Central America and most recently both Canada and the EFTA countries. Negotiations are progressing with the European Union and shall conclude in 2009.  Under his tenure, the country’s exports and foreign investment have more than tripled, breaking all previous records.  Colombia was awarded the World Bank’s "Doing Business" Top Ten Reformers Award, for two consecutive years 2008 and 2009, which is testimony to a consistent effort to create a solid and attractive business climate in the country.

 An active researcher of successful economic development models, Minister Plata believes strongly in a country’s power to change its own destiny. He is currently spearheading an ambitious program to overhaul the country´s industrial and services base, by encouraging  the development of new high value added economic sectors, through training, technological innovation and public/private partnerships. He has also undertaken the development of the venture capital/private equity industry in the country, as well as creating the first Colombian infrastructure PE Fund for US$500 million.  As the creator of the country image campaign, appropriately named “Colombia is Passion”, he has worked relentlessly to place Colombia on the map of leading tourist destinations.  As a result, international tourism to the country has doubled, and currently ranks among the top three exports, after oil and coal.

As one of the youngest members of the Colombian cabinet, Minister Plata, has already achieved national and international recognition.  He was selected as one of the Young Global Leaders by the World Economic Forum, and was granted the highest award given by the Young President’s Organization (YPO), The International Legacy Award.  He was  appointed Cavalieri de la Republica by the Italian Government.  For three consecutive times he has been nominated as one of the 5 Best Business Leaders in Colombia, and was bestowed with the Order of Democratic Merit by the Colombian Senate.  Plata also served in the Colombian army.