(CNN Spanish) — German Umaña Mendoza, Master in Economics With a long career in academia and former president of the Colombo-Venezuelan Chamber, he was appointed by President Gustavo Petro as Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism of Colombia.
Umaña Mendoza, who specialized in planning and industry, is a professor of international economics and a long-time researcher. He was dean of the Faculty of Economic Sciences and director of the Research Center for Development of the National University of Colombia.
The new minister is the author of books such as The asymmetric game of trade: The Colombia-United States Free Trade Agreement and Integration and Industry and newspaper columnist Briefcase.
He also has a history of working in the public sphere. In this sense, she was part of projects of the Government Secretariat, the Comptroller and the National Service of Apprenticeship and Employment (SENA).
He was director of the Colombian-Venezuelan Chamber, a non-profit institution created in 1977 with the aim of developing ties between the two countries.
He also served as a consultant to the Andean Community on aspects related to treaties with the European Union and as an advisor to the Colombian Automotive Industry Committee.
“Our economy must turn to tourism, to promote and revitalize production and industry,” Petro wrote on his Twitter account announcing the election of Umaña Mendoza for the portfolio.
“Correct the asymmetries”, the bet of Umaña Mendoza at the head of the ministry
The most recent column published by Umaña Mendoza in Briefcase allows you to take a look at your vision on trade policy.
The academic explained there that in recent decades the policy was marked by the “openness and bilateralism” of economic relations with the focus on developed countries and a “negative emphasis” regarding integration in the Latin American region. and the Caribbean.
This policy, he says, deepened “imperfect competition”, protected the power of monopolies and oligopolies and did not promote control of “market failures” by the State. There was a “permissiveness in the face of the increase in unfair practices and the abuse of the dominant position of a few, deepening the gaps in income distribution and inequality,” he affirms.
“Trade and investment policy in our country has become an ‘asymmetric trade game’ that has not led to strengthening free markets. On the contrary, entry barriers have been generated that prevent the national or regional formulation of development models that mean sustainability, incorporation of technical progress and strengthening of human capacity in our economies,” he argued, calling for a “profound change” in trade policy that allows correcting asymmetries.
It is necessary to “rebuild trust on the borders” with Venezuela
In a recent interview for the newspaper The viewerwhen he was still serving as director of the Colombo-Venezuelan Chamber, Umaña explained that to resume economic relations with Venezuela “the main aspect is to rebuild confidence in the borders,” a factor tied to social indicators.
“Regaining trust implies recovering social indicators and that necessarily implies opening the border for free-flowing goods and services. The recovery of binational citizenship is also important, in order to make the economy at the service of income distribution, employment conditions, the reduction of informality, increase security and human rights, and that the system is at the service of those who produce and of sustainable development”, he said.
He also considers that it is necessary to “improve” the agreements within the framework of the Latin American Integration Association, “return to the ideas of the Andean community” and “recover” the free trade zone.