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05/19/2014

Export Opportunities in Latin America: A Q&A with Georgia’s International Trade Representatives

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For the fourth consecutive year, Georgia’s exports reached a record level, making Georgia the 11th-largest exporting state in the country.

Promoting Georgia at industry tradeshows within strategic markets is essential to keeping Georgia a leader in the global marketplace. Our International Trade Division works with Georgia companies to connect them to international buyers in markets and industries that have been identified as opportunistic.

During the month of April, Georgia’s international trade representatives have been working hand-in-hand with Georgia companies during ExpoSeguridad in Mexico and Expomin 2014 in Chile. During these strategic events, we had the chance to ask GDEcD trade representatives what specific kinds of export opportunities exist within these markets and industries and why are these events so important for Georgia.

WalterMr. Walter Alejandro Heredia Davila
Trade Representative
State of Georgia – Mexico
wheredia@georgia.org
brianMr. Brian Wilson
Managing Director
State of Georgia –Chile
bwilson@georgia.org

What are the opportunities for Georgia’s security sector and Mexico’s security needs?
(GDEcD Trade Representative for Mexico Walter Alejandro Heredia Davila during ExpoSeguridad)

Heredia: Mexico is a country that hasn’t had a strong focus on security and defense expenditure. But what we’re currently seeing in the market, due to the many security challenges that the country continues to face, is a heavy emphasis on security preparation and technological security advancements. Law enforcement institutions have been a huge priority for the different levels of the Mexican government.

For decades, the emphasis on this industry has been lacking. As a result, this market in Mexico requires new technologies and trends related to civil protection, rescue, tactics and operations – mainly drug control. Because Mexico has the 11th largest economy in the world, this trend in the market provides a lot of opportunities for Security and Defense products and service providers.

Naturally, this has significant implications for Georgia, if the channel of communication and distribution is the correct one. At this year’s ExpoSeguridad, we have seen a very big interest in training and people development services from the different Government and Rescue institutions.

In my opinion, the biggest opportunity today is the focus and growth of the Federal Police, an entity that is in charge of homeland security, drug and weapon control, highways and now rescue. The Federal Police is still a relatively new institution to Mexico and their role has become more relevant to the Federal Government Security’s strategy. One segment of the security industry that is already gaining a share of the market is industrial security. Importers and manufacturers of entryway surveillance and control products from other U.S. states, China, Europe and the Middle East are present in the industries in Mexico.

What are the opportunities for Georgia’s mining sector and Chile’s mining needs?
(GDEcD Managing Director for Chile Brian Wilson during Expomin 2014)

Wilson: First of all, the Chilean mining industry is one of the most important mining industries in the world and represents 15 percent of Chile´s GDP. In addition, Chile is the largest copper producer in the world (1/3 of the world’s production), and is the largest producer of lithium, natural nitrates and iodine.

With the mining investments in Chile projected to reach $112 billion by 2021 and Chile´s total copper production to reach 8.1 million metric tons by same year, there are countless opportunities for Georgia companies to export to this industry in Chile.

Industry analysts estimate that mining companies located in Chile purchased $20 billion in goods and services in 2013. Also, the Free Trade Agreement with the U.S. favors trade. U.S. products pay zero import duties and as a consequence, bilateral trade between both countries has grown 340 percent in the last ten years.

Why are these industry-specific events important to Georgia’s export market?

Heredia on Expo Seguridad Mexico: Expo Seguridad Mexico is the most important Security and Defense expo in Mexico. It is the primary point of contact for companies that want to bring new technologies and services to the industry in Mexico, so it’s very attractive to some of the more important buyers and distributors of Security and Defense products or services. This event also helps participants identify innovations that should be integrated into their portfolio.

Georgia has always been a big exporter of Security and Defense products and services to Mexico, but Georgia is not the only one. As markets in Asia and the Middle East develop their own technologies, Georgia’s competition gets stronger. Publicizing your company through the main communication channels in Mexico is vital to staying on the radar with buyers in such a competitive market. Expo Seguridad is one of those very important communication channels for the industry and Georgia companies need to have a presence here.

Wilson on Expomin 2014: Expomin is the main mining event in Latin America and the second largest mining event in the world. In the past, there have been more than 1,600 exhibitors from 35 countries and 80,000 professional visitors. Chilean mining industry key players are also there, eager to learn about the latest mining-related developments and technologies.

This event is one of the best ways to promote your products to Chilean buyers in the mining industry and is a great opportunity to spend a full week meeting with potential distributors and end customers. I help set up meetings for Georgia companies and the majority of Georgia companies that have participated in former Expomin events have found key business partners in Chile, resulting in important sales to the market in Chile.

What are the opportunities that you see in the future for Georgia’s export market and these countries/industries?

Heredia: Mexico is a country that is growing at the same pace as developing countries, which means faster than most. This will consolidate a growth of the middleclass – generating new needs in society that didn’t existed before. Mexico is already the fourth largest consumer of luxury goods in the world and this new middle class of consumers will only grow with demand.

The retail industry is expected to become a big window of opportunity for consumer products and producers. For Georgia, companies who specialize in consumer goods, processed food or food processing machinery will have the opportunity to take advantage of Mexico’s increased demand. If Georgia companies partner with the right local client or distributor, they will succeed.

As I already mentioned, the Security and Defense industry is expected to grow in Mexico. Because Mexico recently joined the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies, we will see the Aerospace industry in Mexico begin to require similar Defense and Security technologies, creating an opportunity to source from the different Georgia suppliers in the industry.

Wilson: We foresee opportunities for Georgia companies in the following mining segments: Desalination plants (due to water scarcity in mining operations, sea-water extraction is becoming vital)

Water-reuse plants
Non-conventional renewable energies sources (mainly solar)
Energy efficient products and services (to obtain production costs reductions)
Mining equipment and technology
Equipment to meet with the ever more stringent environmental regulations
Consulting and engineering services
Mining equipment and technology
New exploration projects

Also, the Mining industry has a 10 percent yearly growth average, and mining equipment and services are supplied mostly by foreign companies. If this current growth continues, we expect more opportunities for Georgia companies to grow with it.

Interesting in finding out more about trade events in strategic international markets? Learn about Georgia’s trade programs and services here.

 

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For more information on Georgia’s public-private business partnerships, contact the Georgia Department of Economic Development at 404.962.4000.

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