Archive for the ‘Trade Missions’ Category


Building new relationships through Trade Winds Mission – Latin America

October 18, 2016

Davis Wolf is the Manager of International Business Development at HD Supply Waterworks Company

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As an international business development professional, the decision to attend the 2016 Trade Winds Mission was an easy one for me. Having already had an excellent experience with the International Trade Administration (ITA) and U.S. Department of Commerce, as well as with numerous commercial advisors stationed in our embassies throughout the Caribbean Basin and Central America, I greatly looked forward to participating in this event.


Davis Wolf, HD Supply Waterworks, left, with Nayib Joussef, International Marketing Manager LA & TC, McElroy Manufacturing, and Isabel M. Valenzuela, Commercial Advisor, U. S. Embassy Chile

HD Supply Waterworks, the company I work for, seeks to systematically identify and develop viable international markets. Having the opportunity to pursue the Gold Key program in Chile was a way to ensure that our commercial requirements could be met, but also to confirm that the market would be receptive to our participation.

While the credibility of HD Supply Waterworks within the North American market is well-established, successfully translating our credibility on a local level was where having the Department of Commerce and our commercial advisor alongside us was very effective. The commercial advisor’s approach cultivated a clear understanding of our objectives, and resulted in the setting of appointments with the leading agencies throughout the local waterworks segment. At each appointment, we were sincerely welcomed, and exchanged in-depth information. The earnest invitations to participate and partner with the agencies were truly outstanding. Our meeting dates were in September, and I’m happy to say that our communication with the agencies we met has remained on track.

Perhaps the most important thing that came out of our participation was the value that HD Supply Waterworks received for the dollars invested. The credibility to set the appointments with the facilitators and decision makers – that the commercial advisor was able to confirm on relatively short notice – was much needed in order to have meaningful participation with the local agencies. I would estimate that no fewer than eight to ten highly targeted trips to Santiago would have otherwise been required to do so. The savings recognized through our participation in the Trade Winds Mission was exceptional.

I offer my sincerest thanks to the members of the Trade Winds team and the incredible experience they provided for us.

Learn more about ITA’s Trade Missions. 


Trade Winds: A Special Opportunity for U.S. and Latin American Business

August 24, 2016

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.


Trade Winds visited Africa in 2015, bringing 108 U.S. companies and facilitating 650 business-to-business meetings. It was the largest-ever U.S. government-led trade mission to Africa.

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.



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.


Business Opportunities in West Africa: Attend the Trade Mission to the Canary Islands & Africagua

August 20, 2015

John Saylor is the Chair of the District Export Council of Virginia and Washington, D.C.

The Canary Islands may not be huge in geography, but they are becoming an economic force in West Africa.

Located just 62 miles off the coast of West Africa while providing all the infrastructures, services, and advantages that Europe has to offer, the Canaries are an ideal location for operational centers:

  • Top logistic services and maritime connectivity with more than 40 ports in Africa
  • A competitive local labor market
  • Maximum guarantee of legal security and transparent fiscal regulations from a fully integrated EU legal system
  • A 4 percent corporate tax regime and multiple tax exemptions in indirect taxation

Why should your business export to West Africa?

At more than 5 percent GDP, West Africa had the strongest economic growth of the continent in 2014. This rapid growth is generating opportunities and prosperity in all industry sectors.

The Trade Mission to the Canary Islands & Africagua will help your firm access West African markets, find regional business partners, and highlight the advantages of setting up an operation in this booming hub.

The mission will include:

  • Expert briefings by U.S. Commercial Service and regional government officials about the opportunities and challenges of the region and advantages of setting up an operation in the Canary Islands
  • B2B business appointments with pre‐screened potential partners
  • Technical site visits in the islands of Gran Canaria and Tenerife
  • Exclusive networking receptions with local industry and government leaders
  • Optional participation in the Africagua Conference (island of Fuerteventura) for renewable energy and water sector firms to meet with Ministers and other government decision‐makers from 6 West African countries

To find your next customers and grow your business, join the Trade Mission to the Canary Islands & Africagua on November 16 – 20, 2015. I hope you’ll join us on this mission.


Commercial Service Philippines Completes Renewable Fuels Association Trade Mission

July 28, 2015

Andrew Edlefsen is the Director of the Las Vegas U.S. Export Assistance Center and currently serves as Global Asia Team Leader. He has been with ITA for eight years.

Glacial Lakes Energy in B2B meeting

Glacial Lakes Energy in B2B meeting

As part of my summer 2015 Asia Team outreach, I went to Manila, where the U.S. Renewable Fuels Association, along with six U.S. ethanol companies, met as part of a U.S. Commercial Service-organized trade mission. The objective of the mission was for U.S companies to gain a deeper understanding of the ethanol market and business potential in the Philippines. The U.S. Embassy Commerce, Economic and Agriculture officers and local government agencies provided in-depth presentations on the renewable fuel environment, rules and regulations, and business opportunities.

As part of the trade mission, the Commercial Service Manila office arranged more than 50 B2B meetings between the U.S. delegates and local Philippine companies to discuss industry trends and potential opportunities for partnership.

On the evening of the first day, a reception was held gathering the mission delegates to mingle with local businesses, organizations, and industry practitioners.  Day two included a tour of the International Container Terminal Services at the Manila port, followed by an up-close and personal meeting with the President of the San Miguel Corporation, one of the Philippines’ most diversified conglomerates in beverages, food, packaging, fuel, oil, power, mining and infrastructure.

The six mission participants represented some of the U.S.’s leaders in ethanol production, namely: Buffalo Lake Advanced Biofuels; Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company; CHS, Inc.; Glacial Lakes Energy, LLC; Lakeview Energy LLC; and Renewable Products Marketing Group.

Commercial Attaché Totayo introduces U.S. companies at reception

Commercial Attaché Totayo introduces U.S. companies at reception

Commercial Attaché Aliza Totayo and the Commercial Service Manila staff worked diligently for several months to organize this important trade mission. As a result, the delegates expressed praise for the quality and value of the trade mission and referred to the excellent business potential and insights provided into the Philippine ethanol market.

Find out about upcoming trade missions.


Growing the Export Tradition in North Carolina

June 10, 2015

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Wayne Cooper is the Chair of the District Export Council of North Carolina, a Marketing Partner for the Trade Winds-Africa Business Forum and Trade Mission.

Wayne Cooper

Wayne Cooper

As long as North Carolina has been a state, it’s been an exporter.

One of our first main exports was pine tar, and one rumor has it that our use of pine tar in the Revolutionary War is how we became known as the Tar Heel State. But I’m not writing to talk about rumors, or about the past.

What I want to talk about is the future, and for companies here in North Carolina and around the country, the future is global. We’re on a winning streak here in this state, and I’m not talking about college basketball. North Carolina has set goods export records for four straight years, hitting $31.3 billion in 2014.

Our globally engaged companies are reaping the benefits of that success: finding more revenue, hiring more people, expanding their inventories, their services, and their companies.

Why wouldn’t your company want to find that kind of success?

At the North Carolina District Export Council, the importance of exporting is always top of mind for us. What we want is to help get more North Carolina companies on board.

That’s why we are so glad to work with the U.S. Commercial Service, and it’s why we are partnering on the Trade Winds—Africa Forum. When we talk about the future of global business, it would be folly to not talk about Africa. In development, population, spending power, and just about any other measure, few regions can compete with the growth in Africa.

I hope that companies across the state, from the beautiful sands of the Outer Banks to the highest peak of the Appalachian Mountains, will take a look at opportunities in Africa, and at the Trade Winds mission. If there is any way your company can best take advantage of the opportunities in that continent, it’s with the help of the Commercial Service team.

I want more companies to find the success that our state’s exporters already enjoy, because we all know that there aren’t many places in the world that compete with North Carolina when it comes to manufacturing, building, selling, or providing quality products and services.

Now let me say this in my best North Carolina voice: I hope to see y’all in South Africa!


Trade Winds – Africa Offers Opportunities, Tips, and Intel to U.S. Firms

May 29, 2015

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Chris Higginbotham is a Communications Specialist in the U.S. Export Assistance Center in Northern Virginia.

Trade Winds Africa Business Development Conference and Trade Mission
Africa is a huge potential market for almost any U.S. exporter, but there are several factors for any business to consider before exporting to the continent:

  • What is your market potential?
  • How should you enter the market?
  • Who can you partner with on the ground?
  • How will you protect your intellectual property?

Good news: the Trade Winds—Africa Business Development Conference and trade mission in September 2015, will answer these questions and connect your company directly to the opportunities on the ground.

Check out the conference program and you’ll see that it runs the gamut of intelligence necessary for U.S. companies to take advantage of opportunities and find success in Africa.

U.S. Commercial Service officers from the region and expert guest panelists will explain how to mitigate business risk, brand your business, take advantage of government support, and access the growing middle class in these important emerging markets.

Click to register by June 15, 2015

Africa is one of the most promising regional markets in the world:

  • Regional economic growth has outpaced the world average and is forecast to continue.
  • A growing middle class means there’s an expanding pool of potential customers.
  • The regional focus on infrastructure development helps simplify the export process.
  • African leaders and consumers recognize and seek out quality American-made goods.

Don’t forget that in addition to the conference, there are also trade mission stops in eight growing African markets, where you will be connected directly to potential partners on the ground.

When you register for Trade Winds, our team will help identify the best markets for you, so you can make the most of your trip.

Are you ready to find your next customers and grow your business? Join us at Trade Winds! To get more information or if you have questions, contact us at and follow the conversation on Twitter: #TradeWinds15.