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Global Map

In-Depth, Country-Focused Super Sessions

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Strategically located in the prosperous Gulf region, the United Arab Emirates is the heart of one of the world’s richest emerging markets. As a leading destination for international business, trade and tourism in the Middle East, the UAE attracts nearly 15 million visitors annually. A federation of seven small emirates, it has an equally tiny population of some 9 million people – with most of these being foreign residents.

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UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Gateway to a Prosperous and Growing Middle East

The UAE’s ideal placement as a hub between the East and West trade routes provides easy access to some of the world’s fastest growing economies and markets in India, Africa, and South Asia. As the US’s largest export market in the Middle East for seven consecutive years, trading with all 50 states, the UAE supports hundreds of thousands of American jobs each year. With more than 1,500 U.S. companies having a presence in the UAE, it also is a key starting point for firms conducting business throughout the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.  And with the recent advent of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s customs union, the UAE is now an excellent gateway to growing consumer markets in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman.

The UAE enjoys a high standard of living, with a per-capita GDP rate on par with major European countries.  English is widely used as the language for business dealings, and in its latest Ease of Doing Business index, the World Bank ranks the UAE as 18th among 189 countries in terms of contract enforcement – by comparison, the U.S. is ranked 21st.  Once known for its petroleum-heavy economy, the UAE has moved aggressively to develop new industrial and commercial sectors, such as aviation, health care and tourism, and is actively pursuing trade liberalization policies.

The United States has one of the world’s fastest-growing trade relationships with the UAE – trade levels have almost doubled since 2010 – and California is one of the top U.S. exporting states to the country.  Leading U.S. exports include aircraft and commercial-aviation equipment; power generation equipment; defense goods; computers and electrical products; precious stones and metal; and transportation and infrastructure-related goods and services.  Indeed, infrastructure-development projects across the UAE are generating billions of dollars in new U.S. exports.

Through Abu Dhabi’s Economic Vision 2030 and in advance of Dubai Expo 2020, the UAE is strategically aligned to increase diversification and investment in sectors including education, tourism, heath care, IT, transportation and defense.

INDIA

India’s business environment is a superlative conundrum, with monumental opportunities alongside towering challenges. The country is on pace to overtake China in terms of population size and it recently surpassed China as the world’s hottest major economy. Nomura, the Japanese financial group, expects the Indian economy to expand at a 7.8-percent clip in 2016-2017, while Dun & Bradstreet expects 9-percent average annual growth over the coming decade. According to one analysis, the size of the Indian economy will be larger than the United Kingdom’s in 2019 and Japan’s in 2020.

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INDIA

Positioning Yourself for the New China

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s chief economist sums things up this way: “India is the only country that has the potential to change the world in the 2020s in the way that China changed it in the 2000s. It will probably take a little longer than that before India really takes off but, even so, it is going to be a global growth powerhouse of the 2020s.”

The country’s growth potential, driven by a rising middle class and the world’s largest population of millennials, has increasingly drawn the attention of foreign companies, not just from the West but also from Japan, China and Korea. As Apple’s CEO puts it: “The population in India is in some ways some of the best in the world. There’s a huge amount of young people moving up the ranks and the consumer will rise up there.”

According to Euromonitor International, India is second only to China over the 2015-2030 period in terms of the consumption potential of its middle class. And Morgan Stanley forecasts that “Per capita incomes are likely to double by 2025 and this should drive higher the aspirations of the Indian consumer.”

One result of this development is a staggering increase in the size of the Indian retail market in the coming years. The Boston Consulting Group, for example, reports that the retail sector has the potential to expand from $630 billion in 2015 to $1.2 trillion in 2020, on the back of higher income levels and increased urbanization.

Another consequence is the world’s fast-growing e-commerce sector. Some 50 million Indians are currently regular users of online shopping websites and smartphone apps, and this number is expected to expand over six-fold, to 320 million, by 2020. Already thousands of foreign businesses have capitalized on the booming e-commerce sector in order to establish a presence in the country. According to Amazon’s international chief, “The size of the opportunity is so large it will be measured in trillions, not billion, trillions of dollars.” And E-Bay’s chief financial officer states that the sector “is a growing market, it is exciting, and there will be multiple winners.”

Renewables is another sector that is ripe for foreign companies. The Indian government is aiming for a twenty-fold jump in solar power generation, from about 5 gigawatts now to 100 gigawatts by 2022 – a target that is more than the present solar capacity of China and Germany, currently the two biggest solar countries. In the words of one industry observer, “India is executing one of the most radical energy sector transformations ever undertaken.” Indeed, in 2015 the country accounted for more than half of the global venture capital investments for wind energy projects.

Yet running alongside India’s great business potential is a welter of deep challenges. These include antiquated labor laws; an ambiguous, complex and even contradictory legal and regulatory environment; and a maddeningly-inadequate infrastructure system that imposes inefficiencies and other costs.

In short, the country is an exasperating place to do business but also a potentially rewarding one if you are prepared to put in the effort. An executive at the Indian subsidiary of a French technology consulting company puts it this way: Although the challenges are bigger than in Europe, so too are the opportunities – “You always have this feeling that everything is possible.”

han now.

SINGAPORE

The city-state of Singapore plays a gargantuan-sized role in Southeast Asia. One of the world’s most open economies, it is a financial, trade, logistics and educational hub for the area – functions that will become even more significant as the just-launched ASEAN Economic Community and the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement tighten regional business integration in the years ahead.

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SINGAPORE

The Merlion Roars

The country’s excellent infrastructure and transportation linkages to the rest of the world, high concentration of highly-skilled and English-speaking professionals, as well as sterling reputation for efficient and transparent business regulation, all combine to make it a natural starting point into the ASEAN region. According to government statistics, there are more than 37,000 international companies with headquarters in Singapore, which include 7000 multinational corporations. More than half of these companies use Singapore as the regional headquarters for their Asia-Pacific business.

  • The World Bank has ranked Singapore as the world’s top country for ease of doing business since 2003.
  • Singapore’s per-capita income of $56,000 is the highest in Asia Pacific and above most developed countries.
  • California alone accounts for nearly a quarter of the U.S.-Singapore trade relationship, with exports of computers & electronic products as well as industrial machinery leading the way. The Los Angeles area had the nation’s largest trade surplus with Singapore in 2014, with fuel and aerospace exports doing particularly well.
  • U.S. exporters will find a promising market for the following sectors: aircraft & parts, medical devices, environmental control equipment, computer hardware, software & peripherals, telecommunication equipment, laboratory & scientific equipment, education, and oil & gas equipment.
  • Singapore is also making a major effort to develop a creative economy, offering in turn good opportunities for U.S. companies focused on digital media, co-production and content creation.
JAPAN

The world’s fourth largest economy, Japan features the world’s second-largest retail market and is the fourth largest buyer of California-produced goods and services, including in the aerospace and agricultural sectors. It has a large middle class with high levels of disposable income that provide solid opportunities for consumer-facing foreign businesses.

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JAPAN

Ancient Meets Modern with a Yen for Growth

  • Japan is at the forefront of the significant demographic developments facing a number of the world’s most advanced economies, offering a valuable consumer proving ground for countries with populations that are shrinking and growing older.
  • With a quickly-aging population, Japan leads the world in health spending per capita and is spawning new business opportunities for companies in the health care, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical devices & equipment, elder-care and elder-tech fields. An important “silver market” has developed for companies focused on products and services geared toward retirement-age customers.
  • As the labor market tightens, new opportunities are developing for companies in the robotics and automation sectors.
  • With a scarce natural resources base of its own, Japan is increasingly open to agricultural and food imports.
  • Following the Fukushima nuclear disaster, it has launched a major focus on developing renewable power generation and energy-harvesting technology. As part of this program, the retail electricity market is being deregulated and local economies are being revitalized through the expansion of renewable energy projects.
AUSTRALIA

Australia, the fifth-largest economy in the Asia-Pacific region, is a familiar market for U.S. companies given the similar language, culture, business practices and legal frameworks; ease of doing business; and a strong consumer base receptive to American products and services. This is especially true for Southern California, since the Los Angeles area by itself accounted for a quarter of bilateral trade flows in 2014. Australia’s extensive engagement with the rest of Asia – seven out of its top 10 trading partners are in the area – can also help U.S. companies looking to expand into the region.

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AUSTRALIA

Learn More From the Land Down Under

  • Australia ranks as LA’s tenth-largest trade partner, with exports of motor vehicle parts and civilian aircraft and parts leading the way. Overall, the country is California’s 13 th largest export market, with computer and electrical products, transportation equipment and food manufactures being the top export sectors. Bilateral trade volumes are expected to increase with the enactment of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.
  • Australia is the third largest export market in the Asia-Pacific region for U.S. medical products, behind Japan and China. Australia is highly dependent on medical products coming from abroad and the United States is its principal supplier. Due to the demand for the full range of sophisticated medical equipment, especially as the population ages, there is a continuing need for high quality, innovative medical products.
  • Australia is the leading location for biotechnology in the Asia-Pacific region and the fourth largest biotech market in the world.
  • Australia is the largest U.S. export market for agricultural equipment outside North America.  State and federal governments in Australia are actively seeking international involvement in major infrastructure projects.
VIETNAM

Vietnam is one of the world’s most dynamic markets and a rising economic star in Asia. Consistently strong economic growth, along with the fastest-growing middle class in Southeast Asia and an increasingly open, market-oriented trade policy, are fueling major opportunities for U.S. companies. This is all the more so because the Vietnamese population is decidedly youthful – the median age is 29 – with a strong preference for American goods and services. Business opportunities will also grow due to the recently-launched ASEAN Economic Community and the just-concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership and EU-Vietnam free trade agreement.

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VIETNAM

The Next Frontier for U.S. Business in Asia

  • Vietnam is playing an important role in Asia’s shifting manufacturing landscape as itincreasingly takes over the production of textiles and electronics from China.
  • In a new survey of U.S. companies operating in Southeast Asia, many cited Vietnam as apriority market for future business expansion.
  • Vietnam has the highest internet penetration rate in Southeast Asia, which is driving a boom in e-commerce. According to the Nielsen media research company, Vietnamese are among the world’s most voracious consumers of video on their smartphones.
  • Vietnam’s tech startup scene, epitomized by the “Flappy Bird” smartphone app that became a recent global sensation, is attracting increasing attention. The Gartner market research firm ranks the country as among the top five providers of IT outsourcing services in Asia – up from 30 th place in 2010. Silicon Valley’s 500 Startups recently launched a new fund to channel investment to the country’s tech entrepreneurs.
  • According to a new World Bank study, no country will benefit more than Vietnam from the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement.
  • The country offers significant business opportunities for agricultural products, power generation machinery, telecommunications, health care, pharmaceutical products and e- commerce.
EUROPEAN UNION

The economic relationship between the United States and the European Union is easily the largest and most complex in the world, generating goods and services trade flows of about $2.7 billion a day. In all, the relationship accounts for nearly half of all global economic output and a third of total goods and services trade. Taken together, the EU’s 28 countries would rank as the second-largest market for U.S. exporters and the fifth-largest market for agricultural exports. Of these, the top three largest country export markets are Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

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EU

A Focus on Germany, UK and Netherlands

Germany

  • Germany is the Los Angeles area’s sixth-largest trade partner and the largest non-Asian one. Total trade between Los Angeles and Germany was $11.68 billion in 2015. Leading exports in 2015 included civilian aircraft, engines and parts; motor vehicles; and medical instruments.
  • Germany is the world’s fifth-largest economy and accounts for more than a fifth of the EU’s overall GDP. It also features the largest consumer market in Europe, and its location in the center of the continent makes it a cornerstone around which many U.S. companies build their European expansion strategies.
  • Germany is the largest U.S. trade partner in Europe and the sixth-largest market overall for U.S. exports.

 

United Kingdom

  • The UK is the Los Angeles area’s 13 th -largest trade partner, with total trade valued at $6.7 billion in 2015. Leading exports included aviation, motor vehicles, artwork and computers.
  • The UK, the world’s tenth-largest economy, is the second-largest market for U.S. service exports and the fifth-largest for goods exports.
  • At over $1 trillion in aggregate value, the U.S.-UK investment relationship is the largest in the world.
  • With few trade barriers, the UK serves as the entry point into the European Union for more than 43,000 U.S. exporters.

The Netherlands

  • The Netherlands is the Los Angeles area’s 17 th -largest trade partner, with total trade valued at $3.44 billion in 2015. Leading exports included orthopedic appliances, medical devices and civilian aviation.
  • Overall, the Netherlands is the ninth-largest market for U.S. exports of goods and services.
  • The Netherlands is the EU’s sixth-largest economy. With the region’s busiest container port (Rotterdam) and third-largest cargo airport (Amsterdam Schiphol), it plays an important role as a European transportation hub.
CANADA

Canada is the Los Angeles area’s largest export market, the second largest for California overall, and the single largest for U.S. goods. Indeed, no other country has such a high degree of economic integration. Geographic proximity, the ease of doing business, a common language and business culture, a stable legal and regulatory environment, high consumer receptivity for U.S.-made goods and services, and a dense network of bilateral trade agreements all make Canada a highly accessible market for U.S. companies, including small and medium-sized firms.

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CANADA

Taking a New Look at a Familiar Foreign Market

  • Computers and electronic products are California’s largest exports to Canada. Exports of agricultural products and food manufacturers are also significant, along with transportation equipment and chemicals.
  • Canada is the top destination for U.S. exports of high-value agricultural products and the second largest export market for overall U.S. agricultural products. It is by far the largest export market for U.S. fresh vegetables and fruits, as well as agricultural equipment. Most U.S. agricultural products enter Canada duty-free, and significant gains continue for U.S. consumer-ready foods and food service foods.
  • S. companies rank first in the export of textile goods to Canada, owing to the similarity of fashion and style trends in both countries, and the high regard Canadian consumers have for U.S. quality products and brand names.
  • Canada is the world’s ninth largest pharmaceutical market. Healthcare expenditure in the country has almost doubled over the last decade and an aging population creates opportunities for drugs to treat conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disorders. According to industry reports, one-third of Canadian generic drug imports are provided by U.S. companies.
  • Canada ranks fourth in a May 2015 study by the U.S. Commerce Department on leading foreign markets for U.S. aircraft parts.
MEXICO

Mexico does not receive much media attention compared to China and India, but smart companies, entrepreneurs and investors are looking anew at the country to the south. Once known for an oil-dominated economy and low-wage assembly work, the country now has a diversified economy and the largest and most sophisticated manufacturing sector in Latin America. With a growing middle class and a government enacting major reforms in the business environment, Mexico has emerged as the region’s economic star.

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MEXICO

Positioning Your Company in Latin America’s New Economic Star

  • The International Monetary Fund ranks Mexico as the world’s 11th-largest economy, ahead of Italy and just behind the United Kingdom and France.
  • The World Bank ranks Mexico as Latin America’s best locale for businesses and entrepreneurs, and notes it is leading the way for the region in implementing pro-business reforms. The combination of geographic proximity and a favorable regulatory environment makes the country a relatively easy market for U.S. companies to enter and export to.
  • The second-largest economy in Latin America, Mexico is the leading trading partner of California, Texas, Arizona and 29 other U.S. states.
  • The Boston Consulting Group reports that “The socioeconomic conditions are aligning for Mexico’s takeoff in consumer spending. Thanks to favorable demographics and growing affluence, millions of households are joining Mexico’s middle class.”
  • Mexico has burgeoning automotive, electronics and aerospace sectors, and the country is a main beneficiary as global production capacity migrates out of China.
  • Landmark reforms in the energy, power generation and telecommunications fields, along with a major government initiative to build up infrastructure throughout the country, offer major opportunities for engineering and construction companies.
  • Solar power companies see Mexico as among the countries with the highest growth potential, and it is rapidly emerging as a substantial wind power market.
SOUTH KOREA

In terms of population size, Korea (with 50 million people) is the 28th-largest country in the world. But viewed according to the overall size of its economy, it is the world’s 14th-largest country and the fourth largest in Asia. In short, Korea punches well above its weight in the global economy, a high-income country with a GDP-per-capita level three times that of China and almost equal to Japan’s.

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SOUTH KOREA

Small Country, Big Opportunities

From consumer electronics to autos, it is home to some of the most competitive and famous companies in the world. A shaper of global pop culture, it is also heavily engaged in the international trade system. Korea, for example, is the fifth-largest U.S. trade partner and the third-largest partner for the Los Angeles area.

  • The L.A. area by itself accounts for a fifth of total U.S.-Korea trade activity – the highest level of any U.S. region. Exports of food products and aircraft engines and parts lead the way, along with motor vehicle parts.
  • The U.S.-Korea free trade agreement, which went into effect in March 2012, has markedly increased U.S.-Korea trade levels.
  • The Korean economy is moving toward more technology and capital-intensive industries, creating opportunities for U.S. companies in the fields of life sciences (medical instruments, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology), aerospace and defense, environmental technology and nanotechnology.
HONG KONG

One of the world’s great economic success stories, Hong Kong has made a name for itself as East Asia’s services and trade hub. With world-class infrastructure and financial services, it is the world’s eighth-largest trading economy and an ideal platform for doing business in Asia, especially for mainland China.

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HONG KONG

East Asia’s Hub

Famous too for its business-friendly regulatory environment and efficient legal system, Hong Kong is ranked fifth in the World Bank’s 2016 “Ease of Doing Business” index.

  • Hong Kong is the Los Angeles area’s tenth-largest partner, and LA accounts for around a fifth of all U.S. trade activity with Hong Kong. Agricultural products, as well as phone and computer parts, are among LA’s leading exports to Hong Kong.
  • The Hong Kong government has launched a number of major infrastructure projects, opening up opportunities for U.S. companies in this field, including environmental technology and services as well as airport equipment.
  • With a rapidly-aging population, Hong Kong also offers important opportunities for the health care industry, including elder care, medical equipment and pharmaceuticals.
CHINA

The headlines coming out of China speak of slowing growth as the country transitions from the old economic model based on channeling domestic savings to export-focused manufacturing. But delve more deeply and a different picture comes into focus: a new consumer-oriented economy is emerging. The bottom line, as BCG advises, is this: “Companies will need a new playbook to capture the coming wave of growth. The strategies of the past will no longer be relevant.”

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CHINA

Opportunities Abound but the Playbook is Changing

  • The UBS banking group reports that retail sales of consumer goods is still growing at about 10 percent per year. And the Boston Consulting Group estimates that the consumer economy would expand by nearly half – to about $6.5 trillion in total – by 2020 even assuming that China’s overall economic growth rate cools down significantly. Just the incremental consumption growth of $2.3 trillion BCG projects over the next five years is much larger than the current size of the consumer marketplace in Germany or the United Kingdom.
  • Two basic factors are driving this consumer-spending trajectory. The first is a new generation of freer-spending, sophisticated customers. The Demand Institute, for example, estimates that this generation will swell in numbers from 370 million in 2014 to 590 million in 2025. It also reckons that this group will account for 60 percent of total consumption by then and will spend some $25 trillion over the next decade.
  • Yet even as the consumer marketplace expands in size, it is also evolving qualitatively as customers become savvier and increasingly demand more premium products. Proctor & Gamble’s CEO recently summed up his company’s stumbles in China this way:

“We looked at China too much like a developing market as opposed to the most discerning market in the world.”

  • The second factor is the increasingly powerful role of e-commerce. China surpassed the US as the world’s largest e-commerce market in 2013, a development fueled in turn by the phenomenal speed of smartphone penetration in the country. UBS reports that online retail sales grew 33 percent in 2015, accounting for more than a tenth of total retail sales. Retail spending on mobile devices also increased by over 100 percent last year, continuing a trend seen since late 2013.
  • BCG expects that e-commerce – and especially mobile commerce – will drive over 40 percent of total consumption growth through 2020. In fact, more than 460 million Chinese consumers are now shopping online – a ten-fold increase from just eight years ago. A recent survey, for instance, found that nearly half of Chinese shoppers are already buying groceries online, twice the level of global consumers as a whole.…Interesting fact for the renewable sector: China plans to add 1,000 gigawatts of green energy capacity by 2030, a figure equal to 90 percent of the current size of the entire US power grid.
INDONESIA

Given the gargantuan size of China and India, it’s easy to lose sight of Southeast Asia and Indonesia, its largest economy and most populous country. But you owe it to your business to take a closer look at a region that is one of the most robust growth areas in the world and a country that PricewaterhouseCoopers expects to be the world’s fifth-largest by 2030.

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INDONESIA

Gateway to a Growing Southeast Asia

Given the gargantuan size of China and India, it’s easy to lose sight of Southeast Asia and Indonesia, its largest economy and most populous country. But you owe it to your business to take a closer look at a region that is one of the most robust growth areas in the world and a country that PricewaterhouseCoopers expects to be the world’s fifth-largest by 2030.

  • Indonesia, with a population of over 250 million – half of them under the age of 30 – is the world’s fourth largest country. More than 60 million people are expected to join the middle class in the coming decade, significantly increasing already-strong consumer demand.
  • The number of households in Indonesia earning $5,000 – $15,000 in annual disposable income is expected to expand from 36 percent of the population to more than 58 percent by 2020. Consumer sentiment in the country is among the highest in Asia.
  • Consumer-related market opportunities continue to drive economic growth, leading to a boom in the retail, health, education, telecommunications and financial services sectors in recent years.
  • Indonesia is a leading market for U.S. agricultural exports and the growing size of the middle class will result in greater opportunities for California farms and food processors, as well as agribusiness equipment and services companies.
  • Within the last year, the Indonesian government has launched a series of reforms aimed at removing obstacles to doing business and attracting greater foreign involvement in the economy. Newly enacted regulations allow full foreign investment in 35 business sectors, including road construction, online marketplaces, film production and cinema, and waste management. Increased levels of foreign participation are also allowed in dozens of other industries, such as telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, and health care.
  • The Indonesian government has commenced a major push on infrastructure development. A plan to nearly double the national electricity output, for example, offers great opportunities for foreign builders and operators of power stations as well as their ancillary industries.
  • The government also aims for a dramatic expansion of renewable in the energy mix and the country’s geothermal sector is one of the most promising in the world.
  • Indonesia’s aviation market is growing at a yearly rate of 20 percent and favors U.S. products. Aircraft replacement parts and services is a valuable and significant market.There is also high demand for airport construction and development, air traffic control and airport logistics services and ground support equipment.
BRAZIL

The current headlines about economic backsliding and political instability in Brazil mask some underlying factors that make the country attractive for global business: It is the largest country and economy in Latin America, and the world’s seventh-largest economy overall. It has a large middle class and is the world’s eighth-largest retail market.

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BRAZIL

Brazil: Finding Opportunity in the Storm

Brazil also leads the major developing countries in terms of per-capita income, featuring a level far higher than in China, Russia or India. As it borders with nearly every other country in South America, it serves as the region’s business gateway.

  • Brazil is the 11th-largest U.S. good export market and a large market for U.S. services. In all, the United States is the country’s second-largest exporter.
  • Brazil has the largest medical device, pharmaceutical, health care, aviation, power-generation, and telecommunications markets in Latin America. The country is also the world’s seventh-largest automotive manufacturer. Export and investment opportunities for foreign companies exist in all of these sectors.
  • Brazil is the world’s second-largest producer of hydroelectricity.
  • The country is a large exporter of farm products but requires assistance with agricultural equipment and food-processing technology.
  • The government recently launched a major push to upgrade infrastructure across the country in such areas as highways, railroads, ports and airports, energy, water treatment, sanitation and housing.
  • Brazil has the world’s fifth-largest internet and mobile economy.
  • The country accounts for 40 percent of Latin America’s movie box office. The Motion Picture Association of America predicts that Brazil will become the world’s fifth-largest market by 2020.
COLOMBIA

Colombia is often overlooked by U.S. exporters, even though the United States is its largest trade partner and the country is the closest U.S. ally in the region.  Colombia is also the third largest economy in South America and the second largest regional market for U.S. agricultural goods.  

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COLOMBIA

Colombia: Now is the Time for a New Look

As the U.S. Commerce Department notes:

“Due to Colombia’s close ties to the United States and Colombians’ appreciation for the quality and reliability of U.S products, consumers in Colombia often favor U.S. products and services over those of our foreign competitors.” 

The bilateral free trade agreement that went into effect in May 2012 immediately dropped tariffs on over 80 percent of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial products.  One result has been a 15-percent increase in overall U.S. exports, especially in farm goods and agri-products. Tariffs on other U.S. exports are scheduled to be phased out entirely in the coming years.  The agreement also includes strong legal protections for intellectual property, improved dispute settlement mechanisms, and expanded access to Colombia’s services sector.

  • And there is an even more recent reason for looking anew:  This summer Colombia signed a peace accord ending a major insurgency that has wracked the country for decades, thus giving new impetus to the national economy.  The Commerce Department sees the situation this way: “Strong political stability, a growing middle class (35.3% of the population), and a vastly improved safety and security situation have created healthy economic growth in Colombia, despite the hit the Colombian economy has received due to the drop in oil and commodity prices.”The Colombian government has launched a major infrastructure development project, valued at $17 billion over the next five years.  The initiative offers opportunities for U.S. companies in the areas of airport modernization, port construction and expansion, as well as highway and hotel development.