Archive for the ‘Look South’ Category


Latin America –Opportunities for U.S. Automotive Aftermarket Exports

February 25, 2016

Kellie Holloway is a Senior International Trade Specialist and Deputy Team Leader of the U.S. Commercial Service’s Global Automotive Team

 Todd Peterson is an International Trade Specialist in the Office of Transportation and Machinery and Team Lead for the Auto Care Association’s Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP)

The U.S. auto parts sector continues to be one of the largest contributors to total U.S. exports.  In 2015, the U.S. exported nearly $81 billion in auto parts worldwide. One of the promising, but overlooked regions for U.S. automotive aftermarket parts exports is Latin America, particularly Peru, Guatemala and El Salvador. Demand for aftermarket auto parts and repair services in these three markets is increased due to aging vehicles (averaging 15.5 years for private and 22.5 years for commercial vehicles).  In addition, there is a high level of used-car sales and deteriorating road conditions.  US market share for auto parts in Guatemala is 31 percent, in El Salvador it is 26 percent, and US companies have a 19 percent share of the Peruvian market.  Also worth noting: U.S. auto parts exports over the last five years grew 87 percent in Peru; 19 percent in Guatemala, and 50 percent in El Salvador.

Auto parts

Auto parts

In addition, these three countries are Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partners with the United States, which increases U.S. market access by breaking down potential market entry barriers. FTA partnership, product quality, available warranties and geographic proximity, all contribute to the United States having a competitive advantage when entering Latin American markets.

Some of the specific products/services in demand include:

  • Motor parts: compressors, radiators, batteries, accumulators, green filters, motor oil, and lubricants;
  • Body and crash parts;
  • Accessories: sound systems, spoilers, bumpers, cleaning products;
  • Safety Products: alarms, GPS systems;
  • Brake systems, suspension and components;
  • Driving simulators; and
  • Tools and diagnostic equipment.

Recognizing the opportunities for automotive aftermarket suppliers in Latin America, the International Trade Administration (ITA) awarded the Auto Care Association a three-year matching award of just under $300,000 to support activities designed to help boost exports to that region. Upcoming events utilizing this Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP) project are two automotive trade missions to Latin America.  The first mission is destined for Peru (May 17-19, 2016), followed by a mission to Guatemala with an optional stop in El Salvador (June 21-24, 2016). Future missions are planned to Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Honduras.

“The MDCP award creates important partnerships that assists U.S. firms in selling more of their goods and services to the 95 percent of consumers living outside our borders,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Industry & Analysis Marcus Jadotte. “We are excited to help the U.S. auto care industry increase exports in Latin American and expand economic opportunity in such an important sector of the U.S. economy.”

The Automotive Trade Missions to Peru, Guatemala and El Salvador are designed to inform participants of the local market and provide access to key industry contacts. The number of mission participants is intentionally limited to ensure customized and well-targeted matchmaking scheduling. In addition, U.S. Embassy staff will provide country commercial briefings on the legalities and nuances of doing business in those markets, with the schedule rounded out to include industry-specific networking receptions and site visits. The Auto Care Association’s upcoming missions are an extremely cost-effective way to expand your business prospects in Latin America. The package includes personalized business-to-business matchmaking meetings with foreign industry executives, hotel accommodations and local transportation, networking receptions, interpreters, and country briefings.

A past trade mission participant relayed the value that joining a supported mission provided. “We’ve boosted sales by 70 percent in Latin America and could not have done it as fast without the U.S. Commercial Service,” said Ross Tamimi, Vice President, Warco Products. The contacts that Ross made while on the mission helped the firm understand local commercial dynamics and regulatory policies, and successfully identify local distributors.

Harness your share of these growing Latin American economies and expand your export strategies through both Automotive Trade Mission opportunities!

For more information on auto parts exports, please see ITA’s Top Markets Report for Automotive Parts.


Miami: Expanding Trade Through TPP and Global Expansion in the Western Hemisphere

February 24, 2016

Stefan M. Selig is the U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of joining several business leaders and state officials for a series of trade events in the Miami, Florida area. Miami has a record for being one of the country’s top exporters, coming in seventh on the list of metro area exporters in the country. In 2014, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-West Palm metro reported $38 billion in merchandise exports, representing nearly 65 percent of the state’s total.


Under Secretary Selig meets with Miami business leaders to discuss the President’s trade agenda

With so much export potential, I thought it was important to meet with local business leaders for a roundtable discussion on the President’s trade agenda and the benefits to the greater Miami region from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). During the conversation, hosted by the Miami USEAC, we discussed the commercial value of TPP and strategic importance of strengthening our ties with the Western Hemisphere and TPP countries.   Local and state business executives and company representatives seeking to expand their businesses overseas asked questions such as how U.S. companies are affected by international trade policies, including TPP, and what these can mean for businesses in South Florida.

Over the past few months, the answer has become clear: opportunity. Trade in the United States is an engine for economic growth and job creation, which is why agreements such as TPP are critical to our success as a nation.

Following the roundtable, I addressed the Association of American Chambers of Commerce in Latin America and the Caribbean’s (AACCLA) ‘Outlook on the Americas’ luncheon. During the event, I spoke about U.S. relations with Latin American and the Caribbean, focusing on how regional cooperation and collaboration can make each country more globally competitive. This collaborative commitment for open trade and investment flows is what helped our region weather the financial crisis, and is what will drive economic growth in the coming years.

At the Department of the Commerce, we remain committed to our engagement in Latin America to support sound economic policies and unifying the region along a shared agenda for growth.  This week, Secretary Pritzker travels to Mexico as part of our ongoing High Level Economic Dialogue. Deputy Secretary Andrews traveled to Brazil last summer and this spring we will host a U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum in Washington. The United States policy shift on Cuba is one of the most significant policy actions in the region in the past 50 years and President Obama will make an historic trip to the country this spring. Existing free trade agreements like CAFTA and the U.S.-Columbia FTA support economic partnerships in the region, and TPP will expand those partnerships even further.

Over the last 25 years, our trade partnerships with our Latin American and Caribbean neighbors have done far more than just ensure market success. They have maintained the trajectory of our growth agenda by deepening the ties that bind our commercial communities. The International Trade Administration’s Foreign Service Officers and Trade Specialists on the ground throughout Latin America, working with both local and U.S. businesses, will continue to play a central role in deepening economic partnerships in the region.

In order for us to continue the success of the last 25 years, a shared growth agenda through new trade agreements like the TPP will further strengthen our supply chains and ensure an equal and tariff-free treatment with all of our TPP partners. I am deeply excited for this historic opportunity to advance our mutual and strategic interests through furthered collaboration on a global stage.



New Opportunities in Colombia

November 24, 2015

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Laura Ebert is the Colombia Desk Officer in the International Trade Administration.

As a fan of Netflix’s drama series ‘Narcos’, I was both nervous and excited to see just how much Colombia has changed since the days of Pablo Escobar. I visited the country for the first time in July and returned a few weeks ago with John Andersen, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere. Our goal for the trip was to identify new business opportunities in cities across Colombia. I was impressed by the new, modern Colombia and can confirm that the country has indeed come a very long way. In fact:

  • Colombia is on the verge of completing a historic peace process to end 50 years of civil war.
  • Over the past 20 years, GDP has doubled and foreign direct investment into Colombia was more than $16 billion in 2014
  • The rate of Colombians in extreme poverty has fallen from a high of 21 percent in 2006 to 6 percent in 2013.
  • The country’s young population (25 percent of Colombians are under 14-years-old) means the country is bursting with new ideas, energy, and enthusiasm for the future.

During our visit, I saw many examples of the new and modern Colombia. For example, the city of Barranquilla has become Colombia’s international commercial hub. This city of 2.4 million people on the north Caribbean coast impressed me with its crazy traffic, heavy rains, and multitude of skyscrapers—all under construction. With a thriving port and major waterway, the Magdalena River is a natural hub for commerce. The city looks north, towards the United States, meaning there is a lot of interest in doing business with U.S. companies. Some of the reasons Barranquilla may be the next place a U.S. company does business includes the city’s:

  • Commitment to transparency and good governance.
  • Ambitious new plans and projects, such as a new 34,500 m2 expo center, Puerta del Oro, which means procurement opportunities for U.S. companies.
  • Convenient transportation options including an airport with big plans for expansion.
  • Business opportunities in major industry sectors like metalworking, chemicals and plastics, construction materials, transportation and logistics, internet and telecommunications services, health and pharmaceuticals, tourism and health tourism.

Another great example is Medellin, Pablo Escobar’s hometown. Medellin, a city of 3.4 million people, has transformed into an innovation hub for the country. Recently, Medellin was named the most innovative city of the year by the Wall Street Journal. Innovative clusters have developed in industries such as textile and garment manufacturing and design; business tourism and trade shows; electric energy; construction; medical and dental services; and information and communications technologies. Public, private, and academic partnerships are working together to develop new products. One example is public-private corporation Ruta N, which acts as a center of business and innovation in Medellin. The corporation promotes and develops successful knowledge-based businesses. Ruta N anchors a new technology cluster in the north of the city designed to attract businesses in the areas of science, technology, and innovation, particularly in the health, energy, and telecommunications sectors.

If you think the new Colombia holds promise for your growing business, here’s how to get started:

See you in Colombia!





CONEXPO Latin America: “Loads” of Opportunity for the Construction and Mining Business

September 8, 2015

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

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The owners and organizers of CONEXPO, the world-renowned construction equipment trade show, are bringing 100 years of experience to Latin America! From October 21-24, 2015, in the city of Santiago, Chile, CONEXPO Latin America will bring together international experts, the latest equipment, and groundbreaking (literally) technologies. The event allows manufacturers and buyers to build their international presence and show new products, technology, and future developments for the region.

Market Development Cooperator Program grant winner, the Small Business Development Center at Duquesne University, is helping U.S. companies take advantage of this exciting opportunity with assistance through the IMPACT Project. The IMPACT Project is part of a four-year MDCP grant to designed to increase trade with Pacific Alliance countries (Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Chile) while sustaining economic growth, supporting American jobs, and strengthening the global competitiveness of U.S. firms. While shared booth space through the IMPACT Project is already sold out, there are three other ways your company can still participate:

  1. Send a Catalogue. The IMPACT Project can accept catalogues from 7 more companies to show in the booth. With this option the company does not need to travel to the country, just provide the catalogue or company literature. Cost is $300 and includes up to two pages of Spanish language translation. Contact Dr. Mary McKinney at Deadline is September 21st, 2015.
  2. Secure your own booth space at the show. Contact Kathy Arnold of Association of Equipment Manufacturers at for more information.
  3. Walk the show. If you’d like to network in Chile, but aren’t ready to set up your own booth display, entry to the show is only $10 and no-preregistration is required. If you do make the trip down to Chile, be sure to stop by the IMPACT booth! ITA’s Commercial Service team from Chile will be there to answer questions and provide assistance.

CONEXPO Latin America’s host country, Chile, is a Pacific Alliance member whose economic growth has averaged over 5% a year for the last 20 years. A mining and exporting powerhouse, Chile is investing in infrastructure for its ports, mining, and construction industries. The show promises to attract qualified buyers from all over Latin America. Projected growth of the construction industry in the region is $47.4 billion between 2013 and 2022. The Pacific Alliance countries, including Chile, tend to favor U.S. products for their high quality and technological innovation. This advantage, along with the protections and benefits afforded to U.S. companies through our Free Trade Agreements with all four Alliance members, makes CONEXPO Latin America a prime opportunity to develop your business in the region. Indeed, there are ‘loads” of reasons to participate on CONEXPO Latin America!


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!


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 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.


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.