The event will host over 2,000 suppliers and 1,000 international buyers

The event will host over 2,000 suppliers and 1,000 international buyers

Colombia's apparel industry will be hoping its latest matchmaking forum will contribute to boosting the country's export network, this year hosting over 2,000 suppliers and 1,000 international buyers.

Taking place from 17-18 March in Bogota, the Colombian Business Matchmaking Forum will bring together suppliers from a number of industries including textile and apparel, manufacturing and agribusiness, and showcasing products from industries such as IT services, health services, construction, auto and chemicals.

Buyers attending the event will be assisted with a tailored agenda where they meet in a one-to-one business setting with qualified suppliers with up to 18 meetings. 

"More than a business matchmaking event, this is a contribution to the expansion of our export network," said Maria Claudia Lacouture, president of government trade bureau ProColombia. "It helps our national industry grow and expand to new areas as well as give the American businesses an opportunity to explore and acquire our high-quality products manufactured with the highest innovation and attention to detail." 

Colombia's free trade agreement with the US has helped the diversification of products and companies accessing the American market. According to ProColombia, T-shirts, shapewear and household linens were the main products exported to the US from Colombia in 2015. And between January and November last year, almost 2,028 Colombian textile and apparel companies exported their products, recording a historic number of trade transactions between Colombia and the US. 

For textiles in particular, innovation, leading-edge technology and intelligent fabrics are some of the key factors expected to drive growth in Colombia's textile industry this year. 

Innovation seen driving Colombian textile industry

In recent months, the greenback has soared 70% against the peso, making Colombia cheaper against China and shedding a new light on its fashion-forward manufacturing capabilities. But some suppliers face a string of challenges to raise exports, including a lack of specialised fabrics, outdated machinery, soaring energy costs and a dearth of financing.

Colombia faces challenges in fashion export drive