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In the News: Harris Gomez Group at Latin America Down Under

Harris Gomez presented at the Latin American Down Under Conference in Perth in May. His topic was featured in the latest issue of Paydirt discussing the practical aspects of entering Latin America. Harris Gomez Group has been assisting foreign companies enter the Latin American Region for the last 16 years.

Below is the article that was written by Michael Washbourne, Paydirt Magazine.

¨Australian resource companies need to respect the time it takes to do business in Latin America according to prominent lawyer Harris Gomez.

Gomez, Managing Partner of Harris Gomez Group, likened foreign explorers entering Latin America to the ´first white man in Africa´ syndrome, warning that perception did not come without consequences.

¨They get to a place like Latin America where they have never really explored, never really done their homework, but say ´back in Melbourne we do it this way´or ´back in Perth we do it that way ´, so they will do it their way.¨ Gomez told Latin America Down Under.

¨I think it´s a little bit arrogant to do that way because what I´m trying to highlight here is it takes time to understand a culture, You can arrive in a place like Santiago and you’ll soon discover the dynamics are different (to Australia)¨

¨So, I guess the message is, from the last 15 years of seeing the journeys that have succeeded and those that have not, make sure you send you´re A-team – you can´t drive it out of your Brisbane office – and give it the importance it needs. Make every effort to travel there, on average, four or five times a year and make yourself available, too. Don´t rush into it and give your self some time.¨

Gomez said many clients had come to him seeking advice on setting up a company in Latin America ¨yesterday¨ when such a plan was unrealistic, pointing out it typically takes two or three weeks to become established in places such as Chile, Peru and Colombia, six weeks in Brazil and up to 12 weeks in Argentina.

Bank Accounts can take anywhere between one and two months to establish in mod countries.

¨Unlike in Australia where everyone has an account, bank accounts in Latin America are seen as more of a privilege than a right.¨ Gomez said.

Gomez also warned incoming companies not to under estimate the importance of an individual country´s labour laws with many considered proworker, plus the rules and regulations surrounding foreign appointed personnel

He added it was a crucial those companies understood their financing options before committing to a particular jurisdiction.

¨It´s a little bit harder to raise structured finance in that part of the world, it can be a little bit more costly in that regards,¨Gomez said,

¨Deal structures in Latin America also tend to be more complex and require longer lead times for approvals.¨


Harris Gomez Group is a Common Law firm, with offices in Santiago, Bogotá, and Sydney. We also have legal teams in Mexico, Peru, Brazil and Argentina. Over the last 15 years we have been supporting foreign companies with their growth in Latin America. Many of our clients are technology companies, service providers and engineering companies that focus on the mining, energy and infrastructure markets.

To better understand how we can support your management team in the Region, please contact Cody Mcfarlane at cmm@hgomezgroup.com