Archive for the ‘Look South’ Category

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Exporting: Mission Possible – Two Companies’ Stories

March 3, 2015

This post contains external links. Please review our external linking policy.

Laura Ebert is a Trade Specialist at the International Trade Administration.

First Choice Marine Supply CEO Craig Ruda and interpreter Gabriela Schulten meet with potential distributor Maress Supply in Santiago, Chile

First Choice Marine Supply CEO Craig Ruda and interpreter Gabriela Schulten meet with potential distributor Maress Supply in Santiago, Chile

At the end of last year, 14 companies from the Tampa Bay area in Florida traveled to Santiago, Chile on a trade mission. Led by the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation, the companies came armed with market assessments and meeting agendas prepared by the U.S. Commercial Service in Chile. Their mission: to find new export opportunities in Chile.

Joining a trade mission is a great way to learn firsthand about new export markets and meet face-to-face with potential partners and clients. Increasingly, city, state, and regional organizations are teaming up with the U.S. Commercial Service to offer tailored missions for local companies. What is it like to participate in a trade mission? To find out, we recently spoke with two companies that participated in the mission to Chile.

Hydro-Dyne Engineering is a manufacturer of screening and grit removal equipment for water and waste water treatment plants. The company began exporting to help diversify its sales base. Initially, joining the mission was a hard sell to President Jay Conroy. “I was afraid that going down with a government contingency could slow us down and thought we could do it on our own,” said Conroy. “The biggest surprise was how well the mission was organized. Even putting a lot of resources behind it, we wouldn’t have done as good a job on our own.”

Conroy joined the mission with the goal of interviewing and selecting a representative in Chile. For Hydro-Dyne, this kind of long-term commitment is necessary to market its products, provide design and installation support, and build momentum in a market. Conroy was impressed with the quality of the meetings that were scheduled for him. “We went on the mission to find a representative and I am confident we will have one now because of the trip,” Conroy stated. “The icing on the cake was getting to meet with customers who have already asked for proposals on equipment for specific projects.”

His biggest surprise about Chile? How modern it is. “Most water services are privately operated and run like a business looking for a return,” Conroy added.

First Choice Marine Supply designs, manufactures, and distributes solar lighting for the commercial and industrial marine industry, among others. CEO Craig Ruda came across the mission while doing research on expanding to Brazil. He decided to turn his attention to Chile when he learned of the relative ease of doing business there—especially with the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the United States and Chile in place. “Given the FTA, Chile’s growing economy, and their interest in new, energy efficient technologies, it just made sense,” said Ruda.

Ruda went to Chile looking to gather market intelligence and to meet a diverse client base. For him, nothing beats face-to-face interactions for getting an assessment of the true capabilities of a potential agent and for establishing trust with clients. He was impressed by how comfortable Chilean companies were with importing and surprised by the strength of the infrastructure there. Does he consider the mission a success? “Yes, we met all our objectives,” Ruda said enthusiastically.

After all the time and effort put into exploring markets halfway around the world, has exporting been good for business? “Absolutely. Exporting has increased our sales and allowed us to hire,” says Conroy. Hydro-Dyne has doubled its staff over the last two years as exporting has become a larger part of the company’s sales. Exports have driven growth at First Choice Marine as well. “About 50 percent of our market is served through exports. Every one of our people has relationships in other countries on a daily basis,” Ruda added.

If you would like to explore export opportunities for your company and learn more about upcoming trade missions led by the International Trade Administration (ITA), visit our trade mission page. For trade missions to Latin American FTA markets led by ITA and state and local partners, visit our Look South events page.

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One Year Later, Look South Looking Brighter

January 9, 2015

This post contains external links. Please review our external linking policy.

Joe Matthews recently completed an internship in the International Trade Administration’s Office for Export Policy, Promotion, and Strategy.

As yet another polar vortex bears down on much of the United States, we in the trade community can still find some sunshine in the fresh trade data through November 2014. Our export numbers are up globally, and some bright spots are appearing for trade with our friends to the south one year after launching the Look South initiative — they include:

  • U.S. goods exports to Look South markets (our 11 Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partner countries in Latin America) increased by $16.0 billion through November 2014, which accounts for more than one-third of the increase in U.S. global exports over the same period in 2013.
  • Despite most being small- and medium-sized economies, these 11 trade partners represent 20.3 percent of total U.S. good exports through November 2014, up from 16.7 percent in 2009.
  • In 2012 (the latest data available), more than 89,000 American companies exported to Look South markets. This is an increase of more than 2,600 from 2011.
  • In particular, Mexico stands out as an excellent place for U.S. companies to look for new opportunities as 1,700 of those 2,600 new firms entered the Mexican market.

Mexico is one hot destination, as goods exported to Mexico rose more than $13 billion through November 2014, an increase of 6.5 percent.  The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects Mexico’s economic growth at 3.5 percent in 2015, which is a sizeable increase from the IMF’s 2014 prediction of 2.4 percent and bodes well for U.S. exports.

Colombia is an emerging export market thanks to the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement that entered into force in 2012. U.S. exports to Colombia have increased by $1.8 billion through November 2014, a 10.8 percent increase over the same period 2013. Colombia was also a recent winner in the World Bank’s 2015 Doing Business reports, jumping from 53 to 34 to take the top spot for all of Latin America.

The popularity of Latin American FTA markets as export destinations is heightened by improvements in economic growth. According to IMF estimates, in 2014, the top four economic growth performers in the region are Panama, the Dominican Republic, Bolivia, and Colombia, three of which have FTAs with the United States. Strong growth in both the United States and these countries will positively affect one another, helping encourage trade.

Through November 2014, our progress with the Look South Initiative shines. So grab your warm weather gear and Look South for bright new opportunities—don’t forget your shades!

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Major Infrastructure Projects in Mexico: Exporting Opportunities for U.S. Firms

November 14, 2014

This post originally appeared on the U.S. Minority Business Development Agency blog. It also contains external links. Please review our external linking policy.

Gabriela Morales-Richards is an MBDA Business Development Specialist.

aerial rendering of mexico's airportRecently the Minority Business Development Agency’s (MBDA) National Deputy Director, Albert K. Shen, met with Carlos Marron, Senior Investment and Trade Commissioner of ProMexico, to discuss ways to collaborate on upcoming infrastructure projects throughout Mexico.

Over the next four years, the Mexican Government plans to invest more than $600 billion to modernize transport, telecommunications, water, energy, and environment sectors. These infrastructure projects present minority-owned businesses with a unique opportunity to leverage cultural and familial ties, and language capabilities as strong competitive advantages in Latin America markets.

The expansion of the airport in Mexico City was the focus of MBDA’s discussion with ProMexico. The Aeropuerto Internacional de la  Ciudad  de  Mexico (AICM)  is  the  primary airport  in  Mexico,  accounting  for  35 percent of air passenger trips. With two passenger terminal buildings and two non-simultaneous primary runways AICM transports 32 million travelers per year. Foster + Partners of London will design this state-of-the art airport; a company credited with designing airports in China, Jordan, Kuwait, Panama, and the United Kingdom.

The project scope is broken into two planned phases. Phase 1 will include the construction of a new terminal building and three parallel runways capable of simultaneous operation – creating the capacity to support 50 million passengers and 550,000 flights per year. Phase 2 will add three runways for a total of six runways capable of simultaneous operation. The full expansion will support an additional 450,000 flights per year and 70 million additional passengers per year.

The $10 billion mega project is expected to create significant opportunities for U.S. firms. AICM maintains a formal register of pre-qualified vendors. Registration requires substantial documentation including historical financial data, organization charts, lists of past and present Mexican government contracts, and resumes of key personnel. This project has its own website, hosted by the Government of Mexico at http://www.aeropuerto.gob.mx.

If you are interested in receiving additional information, please contact Gabriela Morales, in the Market Access Unit of MBDA’s Office of Business Development.  Also, download the Mexico Project Resource Guide that provides U.S. companies and exporters with an overview of Mexico’s infrastructure sectors, the sector development plans in place through 2018, and to provide profiles of a sample of specific, upcoming projects of potential interest.

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Exporting Might Be the Only Thing Better Than College Basketball

October 30, 2014

The ACC is to college basketball what the Americas are to global export markets.

Chris Higginbotham is a Public Affairs Specialist in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Public Affairs, and a proud UNC alumnus.

Imagine my surprise yesterday…

There I am, walking around the venue for our DISCOVER GLOBAL MARKETS: The Americas business forum, when I walk upstairs and am all-of-a-sudden surrounded by an ESPN crew.

There’s a row of radio reporters on the wall next to me. Bright lights, video cameras, and lots of tall kids.

Our forum shared a venue with the Atlantic Coastal Conference (ACC) college basketball media day. Players, coaches, and staff from some of the nation’s top college basketball programs were right above us.

And the appropriateness of the coincidence struck me last night, because the ACC is to college basketball what the Americas are to global export markets.

I’m an East Coast guy – a North Carolina native – so I don’t say that lightly.

Every year, the ACC is among the top conferences in basketball. Just like how every year, markets throughout the Western Hemisphere present some of the best global opportunities for U.S. exporters.

And as the basketball teams of the ACC compete through the fall and spring, I think that many of the companies here at DISCOVER will be increasing their sales by competing and winning in markets throughout the Americas.

During the next two days, we’ll be helping businesses from 31 states learn about free trade agreements, tariff rates, market opportunities, trade financing, industry trends, e-commerce, and more. We’ll give them the tools they need to gain every advantage when competing in growing markets in the region.

We’re connecting companies directly to a delegation of energy industry buyers from Mexico – a delegation of leaders who know that the quality of U.S. products and services is unmatched in the global market.

If you couldn’t make it to this event, I hope you’ll follow the action and the updates on Twitter using #DGMCharlotte.

You should also look into upcoming DISCOVER events in Atlanta Nov. 5-6, and Minneapolis Nov. 17-18.

Being a U.S. exporter won’t get you drafted in the NBA. There’s no uniform, no conference rivalries, and no fight songs.

But there is opportunity, and that opportunity can take your business to the next level of success.

I hope we’ll see you at an upcoming event, and that we’ll see your business growing through exports very soon.

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Soaring Energy Demand Means Opportunities for U.S. Companies in Latin America

September 24, 2014

Marjorie Baker recently completed a summer internship with the International Trade Administration’s Office of the Western Hemisphere.

Register now for discover: the Americas

Energy consumption in Latin America is expected to more than double between 2010 and 2013.

More Latin Americans than ever are now members of the middle class, and sustained economic growth in the region has led to increased demand for energy.

Energy consumption is projected to more than double in Latin America between 2010 and 2030, and this will transform the continent’s energy sector, creating new opportunities for U.S. companies.

As part of the federal government’s Look South initiative, the International Trade Administration (ITA) has published a series of best prospect sector reports for our 11 Free Trade Agreement partners in Latin America (Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, and Peru).

Our on-the-ground experts have identified the following countries as especially attractive for U.S. energy sector exporters:

We are also leading several U.S. companies on a renewable energy trade mission to Peru in November, and we look forward to new opportunities and new business deals as a result of that mission.

The energy sectors of these countries face challenges in terms of generating, distributing, and transmitting power, and that means there are a wide variety of opportunities for U.S. companies.

One way to learn about these opportunities and how to take advantage of them is at the upcoming DISCOVER GLOBAL MARKETS: The Americas forum in Charlotte, N.C., Oct. 29-31.

Register now for discover: the Americas

This forum will be the premier international business conference for U.S. executives to explore new market development strategies in the Americas, featuring:

  • One-on-one appointments with a buying delegation from Mexico;
  • Opportunities to meet with commercial diplomats who work in these markets every day; and
  • A breakout session focusing specifically on energy opportunities across the hemisphere.

We hope to see many U.S. companies taking advantage of the promising opportunities in Latin America!

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Find Export Opportunities in the Automotive Parts Industry!

September 3, 2014

Kellie Holloway is a Senior International Trade Specialist based in Portland, Oregon, and Member of the Commercial Service’s Global Automotive Team.

image of machinery working on an auto frame

More than one-third of U.S. auto parts exports went to Mexico in 2013. Automotive Meetings 2015 will connect more U.S. suppliers to prime export opportunities in the Mexican market!

One great thing about trade is that it presents opportunities for growth and success for companies in all industries throughout the world.

That’s readily apparent in the automotive industry, where growth in exports throughout North America is creating opportunity for businesses across the continent.

In the United States, auto parts manufacturers achieved $77.5 billion in exports in 2013, and more than a third of those exports – $26.6 billion – went to Mexico. That is a 9.2 percent increase from 2012, and it is a result of Mexico’s continued growth as one of the world’s top five auto exporters.

As Mexico’s automotive exports continue to grow, they will need more and more quality American-made parts fueling their auto manufacturing supply chain, and we at the International Trade Administration want to help form connections between Mexico’s top producers and the most high-quality suppliers in the United States.

One way we’ll support those connections is through the Automotive Meetings event in Queretaro, Mexico February 23-25, 2015. We will connect American suppliers directly to procurement, supply chain, and engineering teams from some of the top vehicle production sites in Mexico.

This could be a great event for any U.S. auto company looking to expand its exports!

To better serve our U.S. clients, we are also hosting two free webinars in advance of the Automotive Meetings event, which will help you learn more about the event in Queretaro, and how to best take advantage of it. The next webinar is Nov. 4, 2014.

auto webinar

U.S. auto exports support thousands of jobs throughout the country, and our team is committed to helping more and more businesses find success in exporting.

If your auto parts company is ready to start exporting, follow our team at @cs_autoteam, visit your nearest Export Assistance Center, or find more information about our services on our website.

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Automotive Exports to Latin American Free Trade Agreement Partners on the Rise

August 14, 2014

Leif Anderson recently completed an internship in the International Trade Administration’s Office for Export Policy, Promotion, and Strategy.

The DISCOVER GLOBAL MARKETS: Free Trade Agreements Conference in Detroit will be a premier event for any business looking to expand exports in free trade markets.

This is especially true for U.S. auto exporters who are looking for new opportunities in increasingly attractive free trade markets in Latin America.

Mexico is the largest growing U.S. auto/auto parts export market in the world, with growth of $8.2 billion from 2009 to 2013 – that’s a 13 percent annual increase.

Mexico recently passed Brazil as the top Latin American car producer, increasing demand for automobile parts from the United States.

Robots In a Car Factory

The DISCOVER: Free Trade Agreements forum will be a great event for U.S. auto exporters.

Auto parts/supplies exports to other Latin American markets have also grown since 2009:

  • Chile – 15.3 percent,
  • Colombia – 14.7 percent,
  • Peru – 16.2 percent,
  • Dominican Republic – 10 percent, and
  • Panama – 9.2 percent.

This growth can be largely attributed to strengthening free trade agreements in the region which have reduced or eliminated most import taxes on U.S. products. These markets also have vibrant middle classes and industrial demand.

The DISCOVER: Free Trade Agreements event will be a great event for U.S. auto exporters looking to expand in these markets.

The event features insights from some of the most successful exporters in the industry, including:

  • Mustafa Mohatarem, Chief Economist at General Motors, and
  • Michael S. Sheridan, Director of Global Trade Strategy with the Ford Motor Company.

The Federal Government is also supporting U.S. exporters expanding into Latin American free trade markets through the Look South campaign.

Businesses can find best prospect automotive industry market snapshots cutting across eight of our eleven Look South free trade agreement partner countries – along with similar market research on 20-plus industry sectors.

Looking forward, growing demand and fewer trade barriers have made this region an ideal destination for any the products of any U.S. business. We encourage you to start taking advantage of this great opportunity.

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