27 March 2023

Five questions to Felipe García-Echeverri

Who is Felipe García-Echeverri?

I was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia, where I started my career as a lawyer, focusing on foreign investment, corporate law and international business. More than 20 years ago, I was founding partner of an international law firm based in Bogotá and in 2014 I was appointed as Magistrate of Colombia’s National Electoral Council. Following this experience, I continued my path in the public sector, serving as Ambassador to the EU and NATO from 2019 to 2022 in Brussels.

What will you be doing at Hague?

As Associate Partner of Hague, I will focus on the domains of international trade, agri-foodenergy, and security and defence. On one hand, I will work as a link connecting the industry sector of Latin America and the Caribbean Region (LAC) to the EU institutions. On the other hand, I will provide support to international companies based in the EU with interests in the LAC region.

Why did you say ‘yes’ to Hague?

I consider Hague as a natural and valuable step to continue my professional career. It allows me to combine both my experience in the private sector in LAC and my latest institutional role representing the interests of a LAC country (Colombia) before the EU.
While the EU sees the LAC region as a key player in the fight against climate change and a strategic partner on several standpoints such as food security, raw materials and energy, the implementation of EU policies poses market and regulatory challenges to the LAC industry, which does not receive enough attention from European legislators.

"My objective at Hague is precisely to contribute to fostering a mutually beneficial dialogue and cooperation between the two blocks, especially considering the current geopolitical situation which demands the EU to strengthen partnerships with different global regions."

Which expertise do you bring along and how will it help our clients?

My professional experience, first as an international lawyer and arbitrator, then as an ambassador, provided me with a clear understanding of the challenges faced by the LAC business sector and the complex EU institutional landscape. It is a fact that it is challenging for the LAC industry and political representatives to fruitfully engage with EU decision-makers and make LAC’s legitimate interests heard. However, we also see a great opportunity for a renewed trade partnership between the EU and LAC in the aftermath of the Ukraine war and in the run up to the EU-CELAC political and business Summits in July. Therefore, the momentum is here and it calls for sound advocacy efforts combined with a solid network and knowledge of the EU context from the inside, which is exactly the expertise that I am providing to Hague’s international clients.

Which trends can we expect in the field of international trade EU-LAC in 2023?

The global scenario is more complicated than ever. There are increasing geopolitical tensions arising from the Russian invasion of Ukraine and ongoing developments in Iran and Taiwan. As seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, international trade relies upon global value chains,. meaning that market disruptions in a specific area of the world could impact trade relationships on a global scale. International tensions and sanctions are affecting exports, leading to increased costs for producers and exporters and price spikes for consumers. On the other side, the detrimental consequences of the climate crisis are increasingly affecting the global population and a policy race to promote the green transition of the economy is ongoing. While the LAC industry is committed to playing its role in the uptake of more sustainable practices, producers are notably bearing the costs associated with the implementation of EU sustainability policies, with potentially detrimental social and economic consequences. Solutions to climate change can be effective only if developed together and efforts are shared across the supply chain. A lot remains to be done in this regard, and it will be our goal to engage with EU institutions in a fruitful cooperation. To make sure the industry of the LAC region is given the necessary tools and support to advance its sustainability goals.

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