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New Initiative Aims to Increase U.S. Exports to Latin American FTA Partners

Monday, January 13, 2014
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Commerce Department announced Jan. 9 a new effort to increase exports to the 11 Latin American economies with which the U.S. has free trade agreements (Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Peru). A department fact sheet states that as part of the “Look South” initiative the DOC will take the following steps.

- promote and enhance U.S. Commercial Service resources throughout the region as well as events and programs that connect U.S. companies with vetted foreign buyers and partners to facilitate deals

- establish a dedicated online business portal that includes market research on emerging export opportunities in growth sectors such as medical equipment, information technology, safety and security equipment, environmental technologies and franchising

- increase the availability and awareness of trade financing and investment tools for the region from agencies including the Export-Import Bank, Small Business Administration, Overseas Private Investment Corporation and Department of Agriculture

- train and educate government procurement officials in the region through the U.S. Trade and Development Agency’s new Global Procurement Initiative so that they have a better understanding of U.S. quality, innovation and service (as opposed to just price) when deciding on tenders for infrastructure projects

- connect more firms to concrete business opportunities in the region through State Department Direct Line teleconferences with U.S. ambassadors in Look South countries

- expand the Small Business Network of the Americas to link more U.S. small businesses to potential business partners and buyers in Look South markets

- partner with targeted public and private-sector stakeholders, including UPS, FedEx, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Association of American Chambers of Commerce in Latin America, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Council of the Americas, mayors, governors and Latino diaspora-owned businesses, to help promote trade with Look South markets in a number of ways

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