Central and South America and the Caribbean
More than half of all U.S. free trade agreements are with countries in Latin America. In addition to Mexico, U.S. free trade partners include Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Peru. In combination with economic trends in the region, this makes Latin American markets promising targets for Wisconsin exporters.
In the past decade, Latin America has lifted more than 70 million people out of poverty, while expanding its middle class by more than 50 percent, according to the World Bank. Better-quality education, infrastructure, security and health care services have become part of the core demands of the region’s growing middle class. Still, a large part of the population remains in poverty. In addition, decreasing commodity prices and world economic trends—particularly a slowdown in China’s economy—have led to declining, though still positive, growth rates.
The economies of the Caribbean tend to be heavily tourism-dependent, with education, agriculture, mining and petroleum also being important industries depending on the economy. Construction equipment and supplies, food and beverage, and industrial and electrical machinery may be particular areas of opportunity for exports to the Caribbean.
With continental dimensions and a population of 200 million, Brazil is among the top 10 largest economies in the world. In recent years it has passed through important social, economic and political changes. With a well-established democracy, the country is one of the most important emerging markets, with a relatively stable economy. Poverty is diminishing, with a growing middle class, high employment levels and many investments in infrastructure.
Brazil is an industrial and agricultural giant that has abundant natural resources, a developed industrial base, high standards in scientific research and substantial human capital. The country offers excellent business opportunities for Wisconsin exporters with state-of-the-art technologies and innovative products. Opportunities exist in almost every sector, but especially in industrial machinery, electrical machinery, agricultural equipment, medical and scientific instruments, vehicles, construction equipment and related industries.
A powerhouse in Latin America, Chile logged 5 percent average growth in its economy for the period 2003 through 2013, even considering the slight contraction during the global financial crisis. Chile’s renowned business-friendly environment and open and competitive economy have attracted a number of well-known multinational companies and foreign investors. Despite a recent slowdown in the Chilean economy, it is still one of the most stable economies in Latin America. Chile ranks at the top in terms of ease of doing business and perceived corruption, and has among the best credit rankings in South America. Chile’s exports are focused on raw minerals and agricultural products. Since it does not possess a developed manufacturing sector, it is highly dependent on imports, creating opportunities in agriculture, mining, food processing and power generation, among other sectors.
The views or opinions expressed here are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect those of WEDC. WEDC is not responsible for the contents nor does WEDC guarantee the accuracy, completeness, timeliness or reliability of this information.