The annual Alacero Congress, held virtually for the first time and attended by more than 3,000 people, brought prospects for economic recovery and looks ahead to 2021 with optimism
Alacero – São Paulo, Brazil, November 13, 2020 – The Congreso Virtual Alacero 2020 took place on Tuesday with more than 3,000 people attending (10). It was the first time that the association’s annual event was held entirely online. The meeting presented the current scenario of the steel industry in Latin America and the perspectives of the most influential experts in the world for the rest of this year, 2021 and the future.
“There is room for growth in our countries”
At the opening of the Congress, its President Máximo Vedoya stressed that “the level of development of the region shows us that we still have many opportunities to grow. One indicator that we use in industry is the apparent consumption of steel in Latin America. This steel consumption is 100 kg per inhabitant, while in the United States it is almost 300 kg per inhabitant, while in China it is 630 kg per inhabitant. There is room for growth in our countries, whether in the production of durable goods or in the demand for infrastructure, energy and housing”.
The first group of analysts included Dani Rodrik, one of the 100 most influential economists in the world; Andrés Malamud, a specialist in democratic institutions, foreign policy and regional integration processes, and Andrés Oppenheimer, a CNN commentator and one of the most influential intellectuals in Latin America. The exhibitions had a common message: education and reindustrialization are necessary to be competitive in an economy where the hyper-globalized model is exhausted and regional supply chains are built.
The ability to attract these chains depends on the capacity for regional integration and on public policies and private actions that contribute to their development. In order to do this in an increasingly technological and robotic context, better education systems, better training of workers and greater social cohesion are also needed, and this in a region where inequality is one of the main problems. Moderated by Paolo Rocca, President and CEO of the Techint Group, who summed up the panel by saying that “Latin America has a historic opportunity to challenge industrial development and the development of its integrated value chain with a significant dynamic”.
“We must make our countries attractive to these companies…”
Alacero’s virtual meeting brought to light the public administrations’ vision of the uneven economic recovery in the different regions. The role of governments in the new context was also discussed with Dr. Graciela Márquez Colín, the Mexican Minister of Economy, who highlighted the role of SMEs and stressed that Latin America should take advantage of the benefits of relocation to attract companies that have migrated to China. “We must make our countries attractive to these companies at a time when global chains are being shortened,” she said.
For his part, Carlos Alexandre da Costa, the Special Secretary for Productivity, Employment and Competitiveness of the Brazilian Ministry of Economy, pointed out that “the process of reindustrialization is possible thanks to an appropriate macroeconomic environment, but also thanks to a series of micro-reforms designed to guarantee a good environment for companies”. The debate was moderated by Sergio Leite de Andrade, CEO of Usiminas.
Debate about prospects and challenges in each country
At the end of the meeting, participants were able to hear from the CEOs of the region’s largest steel companies about their prospects in Latin America and the challenges they face in each country. At the table were Máximo Vedoya, CEO of Ternium and President of Alacero; Carlos Zuluaga, CEO of Acesco; Gustavo Werneck, CEO of Gerdau; Jefferson de Paula, CEO of ArcelorMittal; and Raúl Gutiérrez, CEO of Deacero. The debate was moderated by Maria Juliana Ospina, Executive Director of the Steel Committee of the National Association of Industrialists of Colombia (ANDI).
“The Latin American steel industry is extremely competitive in a global comparison. We have many advantages over Asia and excel under fair market conditions. The industry is part of the solution for regional integration; it is the engine of social growth, a driving force for SMEs and a generator of quality jobs, in response to a Latin America that demands growth, development and above all greater integration. Latin America has the historic opportunity to make a real difference and return to the path of growth,” said Máximo Vedoya, President of Alacero.
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