Archive for the ‘Look South’ Category

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Six Reasons to Look South to Mexico and Central America’s Infrastructure Build-Out

August 21, 2015

Erin Aucar recently completed an internship with the International Trade Administration’s Office of the Western Hemisphere

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

Infrastructure is the buzzword for companies looking for new business opportunities in Latin America.  The region is undergoing a major infrastructure build-out as economies and populations grow.  Large scale public-private partnership projects in the transportation sector abound, particularly in roadways, airports, and ports.  Numerous opportunities exist in related industries as well, such as renewable energy, water resources, environmental technologies, rural development, aircraft parts, building parts, and more.  If your company works in or supplies the infrastructure sector and its many related industries, this is an opportunity not to be missed!

This September 9th ITA’s Commercial Service Office in Denver is hosting an event to introduce your company to the latest infrastructure opportunities in Mexico and Central America as part of ITA’s Look South initiative. Here’s why you should attend:

  1. Mexico is committed to investing in infrastructure. The Government of Mexico has initiated a series of major reforms known as the National Infrastructure Program (PNI) which includes major projects intended for execution through 2018. For example, the PNI identifies 84 discrete projects in the water sector and 118 electricity sector projects. They are also in the midst of mega transportation projects such as expanding the Metrorail systems and the Mexico City airport. Read more in the U.S. Trade and Development Agency’s Mexico Project Resource Guide.
  2. El Salvador is modernizing its infrastructure with help from multilateral development banks. El Salvador has numerous ports, roads, and airports under expansion, upgrade, or development. Most projects are financed by multilateral development banks such as Inter-American Development Bank, Central American Bank for Economic Integration, as well as foreign development agencies or assistance programs including Millennium Challenge Corporation. Representatives from the Inter-American Development bank will be on hand at the event to discuss the $2.4 billion in approved projects the Bank is financing in El Salvador.
  3. Honduras is a renewable energy star! Honduras is ranked 20th worldwide in ITA’s Top Markets Report for renewable energy exports, and 7th for wind energy exports. The Honduran government is promoting renewable energy projects and offering various incentives for its development.
  4. Guatemala is a team player, working with other Central American nations to advance regional infrastructure. In April 2014, Guatemala signed an agreement with Mexico to build a natural gas pipeline linking both nations and enabling distribution of fuel throughout Central America. Honduras has also signed on to help develop the project which is valued at approximately $1billion and will be bid on in 2016.
  5. Our Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with each of these markets give your company a leg-up. FTAs offer benefits, like zero tariffs, to exporters and protections for investors in partner countries. Our FTAs have transformed Mexico and the group of six Central American countries that form CAFTA-DR into some of our principal trading partners. Together CAFTA-DR ranked 13th largest among U.S. export markets in the world in 2014, and the 3rd largest in Latin America behind Mexico and Brazil.

CS Denver’s September 9th event will introduce your company to the latest projects in each of these markets.  Experts will discuss procurement opportunities, bidding requirements, how to qualify, sources of financing, and more!  Participants will have the chance to meet one-on-one with representatives from the Inter-American Development Bank, Minority Business Development Agency, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, and Commercial Service in Mexico and Central America to discuss opportunities for their company and get their questions answered.  Sign up today!

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Brazil’s Water Challenges Calls for Enhanced Bilateral Commerce

August 11, 2015

Commercial Specialist Teresa Wagner and Commercial Officer Tom Hanson assist U.S. exporters of environmental technologies industry solutions at the U.S. Commercial Service in São Paulo.

Last week, Commercial Service (CS) Brazil  counseled United States exporters during FENASAN, one of Latin America’s most influential trade events in the water and wastewater industry. The central theme of the event was “The Water Crisis and its Consequences in the 21st Century”. With more than 200 million citizens and the world’s eighth largest economy, the continent-sized nation of Brazil is enduring profound drought conditions, the worst in over 80 years. It is affecting the wealthiest, most populous and industrial regions including Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city.

FENASAN

FENASAN is one of Latin America’s most influential trade events in the water & wastewater industry

The Association of Engineers of the Sao Paulo state water utility has been organizing FENASAN for the past 26 years in an effort to showcase system technologies and equipment for aeration, automation, control/measurement, pumps and centrifuges. Joining the list of international exhibitors at last week’s event were Commercial Service Brazil clients Xylem, GE Water, and Koch Membranes.The leading trade association of water quality professionals, Water Environment Federation (WEF) also participated, hosting an international pavilion.

Despite the downturn of the Brazilian economy this year, the high number and quality of both exhibitors and visitors confirms the increased importance of sanitation in Brazil, due to the drought in the southeastern region of the country.  Historically, the sanitation sector has not been a priority and has received little investments, creating a significant repressed demand for new technologies, often not available in Brazil.  A challenge for technology suppliers is to educate the utilities in Brazil of the benefits    of their products, vis-à-vis the traditional water and wastewater ponds. Here is where Commercial Service Brazil’s team, located in five offices countrywide, can counsel U.S. exporters on the great opportunities to be found amidst Brazil’s giant water challenges.

The demand for infrastructure expansion and modernization, crisis management, and conservation is high and comes during trying economic times. Yet, this brings opportunities for US experts with proven success in industrial, agricultural, and urban supply strategies. Brazil has, without a doubt, a dynamic Water and Wastewater industry.

The team at CS Brazil is standing by to help U.S. exporters tap into this new opportunity. ITA’s Top Markets report on environmental technologies is one of many useful resources we have available for U.S. exporters looking to expand.

For more information on opportunities for companies in the United States with water technology solutions, read an article that we co-authored in WEF’s international trade publication, World Water; and refer to CS Brazil’s Country Commercial Guide.

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Explore Brazil’s Education and Travel & Tourism Sectors – Top Prospects for U.S Exporters

June 18, 2015

Tom Hanson is a Commercial Officer for Commercial Service Brazil, posted in São Paulo.

Commercial Service (CS) Brazil wants to spread the word that Education and Travel & Tourism rank among its highest-yielding “Best Prospect Sectors” for U.S. exporters.  Educational institutions of all sizes and specialties, as well as destinations and tour operators enjoy year-upon-year growth for these consumer-based services.

According the Institute of International Education’s 2013/14 report, Brazilians now make up 1.5 percent of the foreign student population in the United States, on par with students from Mexico and Japan (respectively, 1.7 and 2.2 percent). Presidents Obama and Rousseff place a high priority on educational exchanges in Science, Technology, Math and Engineering, and English-language teaching programs.  In 2014, CS Brazil promoted services of dozens of U.S. colleges, universities, and vocational schools, who arrive in Brazil on a regular basis to attract students and motivate local recruiters.

One of Commercial Service’s largest trade promotional programs,VisitUSA, wrapped up its three-city tour to Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Campinas, wherein tour operators met one-on-one with more than 70 U.S. destinations. Meanwhile, Brazilian tourists arrive in the United States in ever-growing numbers. In 2014, more than 2 million visited the United States, spending more than $12 billion collectively. Our two countries have a bilateral agreement to issue travel visas that are valid for 10 years; Consulate São Paulo alone issued more than 572,000 visas in 2014.

Brazil has a large and diversified economy that offers U.S. companies many opportunities to partner and to export their goods and services, and U.S. exports are increasing rapidly. Doing business in Brazil requires intimate knowledge of the local environment, including both the direct as well as the indirect costs of doing business in Brazil (referred to as “Custo Brasil”). Such costs may include government procedures and a complex tax structure.

The team at CS Brazil is standing by to guide U.S. exporters on uncovering new markets in these high-profile Service Exports sectors. For more information, please review CS Brazil’s Country Commercial Guide.

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Brazil’s Growing Agriculture Sector is Ideal Market for U.S. Exporters

June 17, 2015

Tom Hanson is a Commercial Officer for Commercial Service Brazil, posted in São Paulo.

Commercial Service (CS) Brazil is letting the world know about our top industry prospects for U.S. exporters in Brazil. This post focuses on the Agriculture Equipment industry. Brazil leads the world in the production and/or exporting of numerous agricultural products, including soybeans, sugar, coffee, beef, chicken, orange juice, and corn.

The Brazilian growers are an ideal target market for U.S. exporters of sophisticated, high-technology self-propelled machinery; post-harvest machinery, including field refrigeration units/storage for tropical fruits; GPS and precision devices; poultry equipment; irrigation equipment; and fertilizers. Brazil is also one of the few countries still capable of increasing its planted area. Large portions of Brazil’s cerrado (savannah or prairie lands) are still available for cultivation, leaving considerable room for growth of the country’s commercial agricultural sector.

Brazil has world-class research and development labs and graduate-level studies, which signals the development of new enterprises that work to boost crop yields through increased efficiency.  The United States and Brazil have a growing bilateral trade relationship in agribusiness. Brazilian growers and land owners have come to rely upon the quality and innovation of marquee brands such as John Deere and AGCO (Massey Ferguson/Valtra/GSI Agromarau), which have been a part of many Brazilian communities for decades.

Brazil has a large and diversified economy that offers U.S. companies many opportunities to partner and to export their goods and services, and U.S. exports are increasing rapidly. Doing business in Brazil requires intimate knowledge of the local environment, including both the direct as well as the indirect costs of doing business in Brazil (referred to as “Custo Brasil”). Such costs are often related to distribution, government procedures, employee benefits, environmental laws, and a complex tax structure.

The team at CS Belo Horizonte is standing by to guide U.S. exporters on uncovering new markets in the agri-business sector. For more information about export opportunities in this sector, please review the Country Commercial Guide.

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Export Success Series: Increasing Opportunities For U.S. Trade In Nicaragua and Guatemala

June 15, 2015

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

Trade Americas wordmarkTwo Central American countries, Nicaragua and Guatemala, continue to open doors for American companies who are seeking out new markets. The U.S. Commercial Service, the trade promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, helps U.S. companies get started in exporting and increase their sales to new markets around the world. Recently, the U.S. Commercial Service office worked with two companies, Second Frontiers and Battery Concepts, helping them expand sales and services into these important Central American countries.

Second Frontiers, a global technology consulting firm specializing in the electronic equipment industry, announced their intentions to expand services to new markets and trade partners. In August of 2014, with the assistance of the Denver, Colorado U.S. Commercial Service office, Second Frontiers used the unique business match-making services that are part of the Gold Key Service program to travel to five Central American countries, including Nicaragua and Guatemala, to meet with prospective trade partners in their industry sector. The Gold Key program provides American firms of all sizes with customized, prescreened meetings with potential overseas clients. As a result of these meetings and expanded trade opportunities, Second Frontiers is now exploring the possibility of building additional office space, warehousing, and distribution centers in the U.S. The progress of their partnerships in foreign markets has been a major catalyst for Second Frontiers domestic growth and increased sales.

Similarly, Battery Concepts, a family-owned supplier of forklift batteries, hopes to pursue new export partnerships with companies in Nicaragua and Guatemala. The El Paso, Texas U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC) is assisting Battery Concepts as they look to develop and build new trade networks. So far, the firm has increased export sales from $66,000 per month in 2010 to over $354,000 per month in 2014. The company’s successes were showcased at an International Trade Policy Event at the White House in March of 2015. Battery Concepts’ President John Kenemore stated, “we try to participate in U.S. Commercial Service events every chance we get. The U.S. Commercial Service has staff in many locations, and we plan on using their services at every opportunity.”

On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker attended the President’s Export Council meeting to discuss how to increase international exporting opportunities for American business. Overall, the PEC meeting provided a forum for resolving trade-related challenges across business, industrial, agricultural, labor, and government sectors. Secretary Pritzker highlighted recent accomplishments in international trade as a direct result of the PEC’s recommendations, which include success stories similar to those of Second Frontiers and Battery Concepts.

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U.S. Trade Mission Builds Education Ties with Central America

April 27, 2015

Ted Dean is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Services at the International Trade Administration.  

Deputy Assistant Secretary Ted Dean and Ambassador James Nealon open the Education Fair in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Ted Dean and Ambassador James Nealon open the Education Fair in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

Last month, I had an unique opportunity to lead a U.S. Department of Commerce education trade mission to San Salvador and Santa Ana, El Salvador; Tegucigalpa, Honduras; and Managua, Nicaragua. The mission not only strengthened cultural and economic ties between the United States and these countries, but it generated a great deal of enthusiasm thanks to face-to-face meetings between higher learning institutions in the United States, and students and schools in the region.

During the mission, representatives from nearly 20 accredited U.S. academic institutions—representing 14 states, the District of Colombia, and Puerto Rico—showcased their impressive undergraduate, graduate, community college and intensive English language programs. Commerce’s partner on the mission was the U.S. Department of State’s EducationUSA.

While in El Salvador, our delegation was well-received during visits to The American School (Escuela Americana El Salvador), a college-preparatory institution, and Catholic University of El Salvador (Universidad Católica de El Salvador), in Santa Ana. Throughout the mission, U.S. school representatives met with hundreds of enthusiastic students during a series of education trade fairs where they shared insights on education and workforce trends. I expect that our participation in these events will open new horizons for many students to pursue educational opportunities in the United States, enabling them to advance their workforce skills while contributing to economic growth in their home countries.

The United States is a premier destination for students studying abroad. According to the Institute of International Education, nearly 900,000 international students studied at U.S. institutions of higher learning during the 2013–2014 academic year, which is more than any other country. The United States is home to more than 4,000 accredited institutions of higher learning and, according to Times Higher Education, the United States hosts 15 of the top 20 universities in the world. In addition, the availability of generous financial aid offered by many U.S. schools has increased opportunities for international study in the United States.

U.S. education exports continue to be a major contributor to the U.S. economy, with international student spending in the United States totaling more than $27 billion in 2014. This trade mission is yet another example of how President Obama’s Look South Initiative is working to encourage U.S. businesses to explore trade opportunities with the United States’ free trade agreement partner countries in Latin America. Together, these 11 countries represent more than 270 million consumers.

 

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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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