Argos Announces Colombia's First Free Trade Zone

MEDELLIN, Colombia, Feb. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Following the issue of Decree
383 by the Ministry of the Treasury, regulating Law no. 1004 of 2005 and
creating an arrangement for special free trade zones, Cementos Argos S.A.
announces the creation of the first such zone in Colombia. 
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Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Luis Guillermo Plata said the
free trade zone will make it possible to achieve "greater promotion of
commercial, industrial, tourist-related and technological activity," and that
"this new regime makes Colombia a very competitive country when it comes to
attracting foreign investment, which, at the present time, is essential given
the industrial reconversion demanded by the Free Trade agreement with the
United States." 
The Argos free trade zone will be created in the Mamonal industrial park
in Cartagena, where construction will go forward on a gray cement plant, with
annual capacity of 1.8 million tons, that will preferentially meet the cement
needs of acquired concrete operations in the United States. Total investment
will reach US$ 300 million. 
The project, announced by the company in August of 2006, includes
improvements in port facilities as well as energy generation, and will require
5,000 tons of machinery to be manufactured in Colombia. The impact on job
creation will be significant given the fact that more than 1,000 jobs will be
generated during the process, as well as more than 180 direct jobs and 500
indirect jobs during the factory operation stage. 
With this Project, Cementos Argos S.A. -- fifth largest producer of cement
in Latin America, sixth largest producer of concrete in the United Status and
market leader in Colombia -- will attain a cement production capacity of
approximately 13,300,000 tons per year, thus reaffirming its confidence in
Colombia's economic development and the value of its people, looking toward
the future, to go forward with a project of this magnitude. 
Argos is the fifth largest cement producer in Latin America, the sixth
ready mix player in the US market and the leader of the cement industry in
Colombia. Its core businesses are cement, concrete and aggregates. The
company's products reach more than 31 countries in the Americas. 

SOURCE  Cementos Argos S.A. 
Pablo Arroyave, Cementos Argos, +011-574-3198712, or
-0- Feb/20/2007 16:58 GMT
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