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Preliminary bids for AL-INVEST programme

The European Commission, DG IB, has published an invitation for preliminary bids for the secretariat responsible for running the consolidation stage of the AL-INVEST programme.

AL-INVEST stands for "Latin American Investment", a programme launched in October 1993. On 16 October 1995, the Commission decided to fund a consolidation stage lasting a further five years.

The programme aims at bridging the gap between the growing interest shown by European business in developing long-term economic cooperation links with Latin American companies and the relative inadequacies of operators whose function should be to provide business with those services which are indispensable for such cooperation to develop.

During the first stage, the Commission set up networks of operators named "COOPECO" for Europe and "Eurocentres" for Latin America. These operators, mainly chambers of commerce and associations of industrialists, have established direct links with logistic support from the programme's secretariat, which is managed by a Community-funded firm of consultants.

The programme works through the conclusion of different types of contracts between the Commission and the operators, the aim of which is to organize sectoral meetings between European and Latin American companies. The decision to enter into such contracts as well as the responsibility for their financial administration is taken by the Commission rather than the secretariat.

The firm of consultants which will run the secretariat in the consolidation stage will have legal personality and status such as will guarantee absolute impartiality in the provision of services to the aforementioned operators. The secretariat's function will be to:

- Provide interested operators with information about how the programme works, for instance by assisting them in formulating projects (formal analysis of the project);
- Make the programme known in the Member States;
- Offer services to operators to improve mutual understanding so as to achieve the best possible results at the sectoral meetings;
- Carry out quantitative and qualitative analyses of the results obtained.

Among the firms of consultants making a preliminary bid to run the AL-INVEST secretariat, the Commission will select a small group which will be given the opportunity of submitting a technical and financial tender.

The preliminary selection will be based on the firm's financial standing and its track record of working with the Commission, specifically in the implementation of economic cooperation projects with Latin America. The successful firms will be barred from making bids for any other programme activities, either directly or indirectly.

There is no standard application form. Interested firms should send, before the closing date, a letter expressing interest in being shortlisted, accompanied by a copy of their articles of association and general objectives of the company, financial and asset statement and the activity report for 1995.

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