Colombia, the South American country that is second in foreign investment after Brazil, has become the regional leader in applying industrial automation, experts told Efe at the Automatisa 2013 trade fair, which began earlier this week in Bogota.

Carlos Hugo Pedreros, director in Colombia of the International Society of Automation, one of the organizers of this specialized trade show, said Thursday that "domestic industry has invested in modernization, which means it is applying automation to compete effectively in the international markets."

Proof that Colombian industry is a Latin American leader is that "its gross domestic product is more than Argentina's," making the Andean nation the second economy in South America after Brazil, Pedreros said.

In that regard, the president of the National Foreign Trade Association, or Analdex, Javier Diaz, said that "70 percent of the purchases made currently in the country are in the category of machinery and equipment, which indicates that businessmen understand the importance of dedicating funds to processes of transformation."

On show at Automatista 2013 are such novelties as robotic arms that avoid putting machine operators' lives at risk when performing certain industrial jobs, and a charger for electric cars whose technology is already being used in Europe.

The fair brings together 64 exhibitors in the areas of industrial automation, applications and intelligence technology for factories, and expects to draw some 10,000 visitors by Saturday. 

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