Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC)
International trade—particularly in neighboring Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC)—offers profitable opportunities to members and friends of the Mid-Atlantic Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Improvement in the U.S. economy has increased the demand for imports, even as political and economic progress in a number of foreign countries has increased demand for exports. With the U.S. on the verge of approving important trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, barriers to trade are continuing to crumble.
United States imports hundreds of products from Hispanic countries. Although the best known among them are ethnic foods and handicrafts, imports also include planes from Brazil and books from Mexico. And, the original Hispanic country, Spain, is a substantial supplier of gourmet food and wine and numerous other products.
United States products have always been highly regarded in Latin America, as well, and they continue to be. Among the items that are in greatest demand are construction materials and equipment for growing national infrastructures and industrial materials and equipment for dynamic business enterprises.
New importing companies can receive assistance from some chambers of commerce, trade associations, banks, transportation companies, freight forwarders and others who gain from increased inbound trade. New exporters can also receive help from federal, state and sometimes local departments of commerce as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Export-Import Bank, and other government organizations.
Latin America has nearly 600 million people and a combined Gross Domestic Product of more than five trillion dollars. Its economic growth is higher than in many other areas of the world. The Caribbean region has more than 36 million people on over 7,000 islands. These two areas combined produce a wide variety of goods available for importing to the U.S., and they also provide substantial markets for U.S. exporters.
The U.S. has trade and/or preferential agreements with nearly all Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries, except Argentina and Brazil. On average, tariff levels are low. Non-tariff barriers still exist, but many have been reduced substantially.
The U.S. is a vital trading partner for nearly all countries in the region. About 12% of total U.S. trade is with Mexico, and more than 8% is with other countries in the LAC region. This trade is roughly balanced between imports and exports.
There are many opportunities to increase trade, for example, between the U.S. and Brazil. Brazil exports a number excellent products, including airplanes as mentioned above, along with an increasing variety of consumer and industrial goods. But the market holds promise because many of its products have yet to be discovered by U.S. importers.
LAC suppliers can be found by contacting the export promotion organization in any country. Sales agents and distributors can be located in several ways including doing research in the target market and using the services of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The Mid-Atlantic Hispanic Chamber of Commerce encourages its members to become involved in international trade and to explore new business opportunities.