Posts Tagged ‘Look South’


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.


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.


The Look South Slice of the Export Pie Continues to Grow

May 29, 2014

John Larsen is the Deputy Director of the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee Secretariat.

The Look South campaign is encouraging companies to seek export opportunities in Latin America.Department of Commerce data show that U.S. goods and services exports set a record for the fourth consecutive year, reaching $2.3 trillion in 2013.

U.S. companies that export to our 11 free trade agreement partner countries in Latin America played a major role in this success. Through the Look South campaign, federal trade-promotion agencies hope to help more companies find success by taking advantage of these free trade agreements.

In 2013, U.S. goods exports to Look South markets increased $12.5 billion to $312.6 billion – more than double the 1.7 percent rate of growth for goods exports to the rest of the world.

This isn’t just a blip; we see a clear growth trend as market liberalization, growing middle class consumption, and diversifying industrialization by Latin American markets fuels healthy economic growth and import demand.

As U.S. exporters respond, the Look South markets’ share of total U.S. goods exports has steadily grown from 17 percent in 2009 to 20 percent in 2013.

Here are some more interesting facts about our exports to free trade agreement partners in Latin America:

  • U.S. goods exports to Colombia, Mexico, Panama, and Peru have increased every year since 2009;
  • Exports to Mexico grew by more than $10 billion – nearly 5 percent – in 2013;
  • U.S. 2013 goods exports to Mexico totaled $226 billion, exceeding combined U.S. exports to the BRICs countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa;
  • The $57 billion in combined U.S. exports to Chile, Colombia, Panama, and Peru would rank them as our 5th largest export market behind Japan and ahead of Germany; and,
  • The $29 billion in combined U.S. exports to the six remaining Look South markets – Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua — would rank them just behind France or Singapore.

We love talking about this data, but we love it more when we can help U.S. companies act on the data and find success!

The Look South website can help your business find the on-the-ground opportunities. You can also see market snapshots by industry with “Best Prospect Sectors.”

So Look South today to get your piece of the growing export pie!


College Looks South for Students

May 11, 2014

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

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

Like many other American higher education institutions, Michigan-based College for Creative Studies (CCS) has an important corps of foreign students contributing to the school’s cultural and educational experience.

Those international students are also making an important contribution to the American economy.

When a student comes to the United States from overseas to study, it is a service export. Foreign students accounted for $24.7 billion of U.S. exports in 2013.

At CCS, international students represent 6 percent of the student body and come from 17 different countries.

In an effort to recruit more qualified students from overseas, the International Trade Administration’s Michigan Export Assistant Center helped the College sign an agreement with Universidad de Monterrey in Mexico to foster both student and faculty exchanges between the schools.

This exchange supports more than just increased exports; it also supports cultural exchange between students of the United States and Mexico. These exchanges help further develop our overall relationship with other nations.

Thanks to their positive experience with this initial agreement, CCS has scheduled two additional Gold Key matchmaking services to find new potential partners in Mexico, and intends to recruit students from additional international markets.

Helping American exporters find new partners in Latin America is what the Department of Commerce’s Look South campaign is all about!

We want to help U.S. businesses, as well as colleges and universities, that are already exporting to Mexico to use their experience as a springboard to pursue other markets in the Latin American region.  The markets featured in the Look South campaign all have growing middle classes which increasingly desire high-quality American goods, including an American education.

Universities or educational institutions interested in developing partnerships or recruiting students from the region can find support from the International Trade Administration and our partner institutions.  Start by visiting to learn more about the available resources and consider the many opportunities ahead.


Florida Company Looks to Panama for Export Growth

April 21, 2014

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

Mechanical equipment excavating a ravine.

Ambient Technologies is a U.S. exporter providing support in environmental and engineering fields.

Florida-based Ambient Technologies is one of many U.S. companies looking south and finding new business opportunities.

Ambient provides a number of support services to companies and government organizations in environmental and engineering-related fields, including drilling, surveying, and mapping. With operations in Florida, the Gulf Coast, Central America, and the Caribbean, the business is well positioned to take advantage of opportunities throughout Central America.

The Look South campaign is helping companies take advantage of abundant business opportunities that exist throughout Latin America. For Ambient, prime opportunities exist in Panama, where the company is supporting the Panama Canal expansion.

“Over the past few years, our work with the Panama Canal expansion has continued to drive our export sales—and we expect to see even more opportunity,” said Ambient President and CEO Carlos Lemos.

The growing economies of Latin America mean more opportunities for your business as well. U.S. free trade agreements in the region can also mean a simpler export process and lower costs of doing business.

“The United States has 11 free trade agreements in Latin America, which is one reason we’ve been encouraging so many Florida business to look at those markets,” said Sandra Campbell, director of the International Trade Administration’s Export Assistance Center in Clearwater.

If you’re ready to explore opportunities for your business in Latin America, visit your nearest Export Assistance Center or



Making It Easier to Clear Customs in Latin America

April 10, 2014

Diana Alvarez recently completed an internship in the International Trade Administration’s Office of South America.The Look South campaign is encouraging companies to seek export opportunities in Latin America.

More than 40 percent of current U.S. exports go to Mexico, Central America, and South America. Both its geographic proximity and the presence of 11 free trade agreements in the region make these markets attractive for U.S. businesses.

As the U.S. government continues to support businesses expanding in Latin America through the Look South Initiative, one key aspect being addressed is working through potential barriers to trade.

Issues like long customs-clearance times, inconsistent interpretation of customs regulations, and subjectivity of customs inspectors can add to the time and cost of the exporting process. These costs can especially affect small business exporters.

To address these problems, the International Trade Administration is working alongside U.S. Customs and Border Protection, governments across Latin America, and other public and private sector partners on the Customs Modernization and Border Management Reform Program.

This program brings business and government together to discuss the challenges faced at the border and to develop solutions that will make clearing customs easier, faster, and more efficient.

The program began in Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Honduras and has already helped create a simpler and more efficient border-crossing process:

  • Honduras extended its operating hours at many border posts and harmonized them across the many different border agencies.
  • El Salvador eliminated several administrative requirements for express shipments, saving companies time and money.
  • Costa Rica recently launched its one-stop web portal that will allow companies and government agencies to submit and review all customs-related documents in one place.

As part of a second phase of the program, training workshops and dialogues were held in Peru and the Dominican Republic in March, with events in Guatemala and Uruguay scheduled to take place soon.

We’re excited to see more businesses expand to Latin America under the Look South Initiative, and we look forward to being a part of a smoother trade process under the Customs Modernization and Border Management program.

If you’re ready to increase your business’s presence in Latin America, contact your nearest Export Assistance Center or visit


ITA Helps Business Look South with Market Research

February 20, 2014

Laura Ebert is the Chile Desk Officer in the International Trade Administration’s Office of South America.The Look South campaign is encouraging companies to seek export opportunities in Latin America.

Before entering a new market, your business needs to be prepared. There are a number of market specific data you should understand to get an idea of your product’s potential success, including:

  • market size;
  • sophistication;
  • growth trends;
  • distribution channels; and,
  • regulatory considerations.

The problem is that market research can be time consuming and data on foreign markets can be confusing or difficult to find.

That’s where the International Trade Administration’s U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service comes in!

Our Commercial Service offers a number of resources to assist you and your business with conducting market research and due diligence in your target foreign market.

Our Market Research Library contains more than 100,000 industry and country-specific market reports, written by our specialists working on the ground in each market.

Here you will also find the Country Commercial Guides, in-depth “how to do business” guides that provide a comprehensive look at the commercial environment in more than 80 overseas markets. The guides also highlight the top “best prospect” markets in each country for U.S. exporters.

As we focus on helping U.S. companies do business with our 11 free trade agreement partners in Latin America through the Look South initiative, we’ve now taken our Country Commercial Guides and made them easier to use than ever.

Want to know which Look South countries are top prospects for your product? Find out at a glance by visiting the Look South Best Prospect Sectors page and clicking on your industry. You’ll be able to see the list of most promising markets and download market snapshots for each country.

Already planning to target a specific country? Visit our Look South Countries page and choose your country from the list at the bottom of the page. Look for your industry among the best prospect sectors and download the market snapshot in just one click!

If you don’t see your industry or target market listed, don’t panic! There is very likely an opportunity for your product in more than one Look South country. Just contact your local Export Assistance Center for further information.

Other free resources include access to U.S. trade data and a series of events, webinars, and teleconferences that give you a chance to learn about new markets first hand or with on-the-ground experts. Check out the upcoming trade events and educational opportunities for Look South here.

In addition to these free public resources, your company can request more in-depth, tailored market research (for a fee) to answer your particular questions regarding the market for your product and services. We can also provide due diligence reports on potential overseas business partners (also for a fee) to investigate the capabilities, legitimacy, and financial strength of a potential overseas business partner.

Contact your local commercial service office to find out more about these services.