Arun M. Kumar is the Assistant Secretary for Global Markets and Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service.
The U.S. Commercial Service will head to Latin America in September with about 100 U.S. companies and organizations, to cultivate trade and investment deals between the United States and some of our key regional partners.
The Trade Winds trade mission and business forum is one of our flagship events in the Commercial Service. Trade Winds has taken more than 800 U.S. companies and organizations to six global regions in the last nine years, facilitating more than $239 million in business deals, with the majority of our attendees being small to medium-sized enterprises.
This year’s Trade Winds will be an incredible opportunity for attendees to make new contacts, connect to prospective partners, and capitalize on promising opportunities in seven Latin American markets: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay. As impressive as Trade Winds is, it is only one element of our agency’s commitment to deepening our trade and investment partnerships in the region.
The Department of Commerce began this commitment in 2014 when Secretary Penny Pritzker announced the Look South campaign to help U.S. companies learn about and take advantage of promising opportunities in the Western Hemisphere.
That commitment continued through our work to ensure that U.S. exporters reap the benefits from regional trade agreements. The United States has more trade agreements with Western Hemisphere partners than with any other region in the world. Partly because of our work to drive results from our trade agreements, nearly half of U.S. exports are sold in this part of the world.
The next step is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). This 21st-century trade agreement will reduce and eliminate trade barriers with 11 leading global economies – three of which will be a part of Trade Winds: Chile, Mexico, and Peru. TPP will decrease the cost of doing business for U.S. firms, and Trade Winds participants will get a first glimpse of how the connections we make at Trade Winds can become even more fruitful once TPP becomes a reality.
I want to thank our Commercial Service staff and our partners at Embassies across the region, who have worked tirelessly over the last few months to create an incredible program.
I would also like to thank the members of our delegation, and extend a special thank you to our Official Sponsors for making Trade Winds possible.
We hope you will follow updates from Trade Winds on Twitter using #TradeWinds16, and you will see what an excellent experience this is for U.S. companies and economic development teams.