Monday, February 9, 2009

Hope for $95 Million in Business

The third Industrial Exhibition "Induexpo" will be held in Guatemala from April 22nd to April 25th and expects to close deals worth about US $95 million, organizers reported today.

The meeting, which will be held at the Industrial Park south of the capital, will have 381 exhibitors from Guatemala, 26 from Taiwan and 20 from Colombia, which will offer a range of different products and services, said Annie Briz coordinator of the exhibition. She said that trade missions from Mexico, Ecuador and Puerto Rico are also expected to participate.

Induexpo is conducted every two years in Guatemala. The Induexpo held in 2007 brought business worth $93 million.

The fair is expected to draw about 5,000 attendees, 11 per cent more than in 2007.

Opening the Door to Power Transmission

Now that the Technical Standard for the Expansion of the Electric Transmission System (NTT) in Guatemala is in force, it opens the doors to bids for the construction of 393,400 kilometers of electrical grid.

The National Commission of Electricity (CNEE) is responsible for developing the bid and the Ministry of Energy and Mines is responsible for coordinating this first phase, within three months after the NTT goes into force. Carlos Colom, president of the commission, said that the process will proceed and meetings will convene throughout the remainder of February and March.

The projects include construction of a five-ring network to link up the transmission system and create alternate routes to transport electricity in the event of failures or accidents that cause the suspension of electric service. An estimated investment of U.S. $504 million will go to the companies that win competitive bids.

In addition, the paper published two-days ago in the Official Gazette, set out the rules, procedures, and mechanisms that persons wishing to perform works must comply with when tendering bids. It also sets out the rules for defining the priorities of projects and updating the system every two years. The proposals must also define expansion scenarios, projections of demand, technology, investment and other costs. In addition they should include features aimed at helping to reduce the total cost of the electrical transport system and identify projects that encourage the development of power generation projects, especially renewable resources.

Approval of the environmental impact studies will be the responsibility of the companies contracted to perform the work. The CNEE will support them in defining and obtaining rights of way.

The payment for the work will be done in two periods. The depreciation will be based on an annual fee and the during operation the carrier will receive a toll set by the commission.

According to the CNEE, the goals is to lower the costs of electric service and mitigate severe failures that cause disruptions in the system.

Q4,000,000,000 in Poppies and Marijuana Destroyed

President Alvaro Colom reported that Guatemalan security forces raided and destroyed 864 hectares of poppy and marijuana plantations valued at Q4.819 billion (US $608 million).

Operations took place in San Marcos, beginning last Monday and ending on Friday. The seizure is the largest poppy and marijuana seizure in history, 60 percent more than all seizures in 2008 combined.

The action involved agents from the Servicio de Análisis e Información Antinarcótica (SAIA), the Policía Nacional Civil (PNC), the U.S. DEA and the Guatemalan Army.

Poppy plantations were located in inhospitable communities of Tajumulco, Ixchiguán Sibinal. The plantations could belong to the Mexican cartel in Sinaloa, Mexico.

"The drug cartels operate internationally so it doesn't matter who the plantations belong to," said Colom. He went on to say, "From now on will develop a program to assist the communities that were associated with those crops, to assist them in changing to productive projects." He also said that the Rural Development Program has Q10 million earmarked for such projects and work with the mayors of the municipalities involved will begin next week.