Amid the alphabet soup of geopolitical and economic alliances in Latin America, ALADI, the Latin American Integration Association, often flies below the radar. But not this time.
This trade grouping of 13 Latin American countries will hold its annual business summit, the Expo ALADI, in Lima from October 17 to 19.
Doryan Zea, head of exports at Extragel Universal, a Lima-based company that makes ready-made and instant desserts, has attended previous Expo ALADI around the region and will also be present at the 2018 edition. "ALADI is the most strategic conference for us. It's the only one where we can make contacts in Central America, Cuba and Mercosur countries like Uruguay and Paraguay," Zea explains to Latin Trade.
Expo ALADI can also be particularly useful for niche products, which depend on small distribution networks and consumer awareness. One of those is alpaca wool goods. "Alpaca is a little expensive and so for us, Latin America itself can be a challenging market," says Rocio Lazaro, of Peruvian fashion house Classic Alpaca, which also attended last year's Expo ALADI.
Several Andean nations also produce alpaca wool. However, Peru has certain advantages. "Peru has a culture with alpaca wool that other countries can't really match," says Lazaro. "We have the experience, the tradition and knowledge that dates back millennia and we can apply that both to artisanal production and...