There are few, if any, sectors in Brazil that do not have excellent short term opportunities. Certain sectors of the Brazilian market have experienced higher than average growth, such as air transportation, telecoms, oil and gas, and mining. Under the second phase of the Growth Acceleration Program (PAC II), the Government of Brazil will spend R$955 billion (the equivalent of around US$470 billion) in development of the country’s energy generation and distribution system, roads, railroads, ports, and airports as well as stadiums as it prepares for the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016. Other promising areas for U.S. exports and investment include agriculture, agricultural equipment, building and construction, aerospace and aviation, electrical power, safety and security devices, environmental technologies, retail, and transportation.
Represented by Devin Rambo, Commercial Officer
U.S. companies looking to explore new markets to expand their international portfolios need to consider the tremendous business opportunities offered in Canada. A solid and integrated supply chain mainly in the automotive and aerospace sectors already make up roughly 30 percent of the $600 billion in bilateral trade recorded in 2011. New developments in shipbuilding, air-defense, safety and security, mining, and renewable energy, will create virtually limitless business opportunities.
Canada continues to hold a historic record as the United States’ largest export market, accounting for 20 percent of total U.S. trade. Total stock of Canadian foreign direct investment in the United States also ranked among the top four in the world.
Represented by Rick Ortiz, Commercial Officer
The Republic of Colombia is the fifth largest economy in Latin America with the third largest population of approximately 46 million inhabitants. It is the only country in South America with two sea coasts (Pacific and Caribbean) providing tactical shipping advantages in today’s global market. Aided by major security improvements, steady economic growth and moderate inflation, Colombia has become a free market economy with major commercial and investment ties to the United States, Europe, Asia and Latin America. Colombia is the third largest market for U.S. exports in Latin America.
In the eyes of U.S. exporters, Colombia may suffer more from the perceptions of the past than the realities of the present. The past 10 years have brought extraordinary change to the country in terms of economic development and improvements in the national safety and security situation. The political stability, growing middle class, and improved security has created an economic boom in Colombia that, coupled with the conservative lending practices by Colombia’s financial institutions, lessened the impact of the global economic crisis. Key economic indicators demonstrating the positive long-term effect of Colombia’s political and economic policies include: GDP growth of 5.5 percent in 2011, (expected to remain between 5 and 6 percent for 2012); foreign direct investment of USD 14.8 billion in 2011, which represents a 56 percent increase over 2010, 80 percent of the 2011 amount was attributable to the extractive industries; and a rise in industrial production of 5.1 percent in 2011over 2010 figures. These are all signs of a strong and growing economy.
Represented by Nicole DeSilvas, Commercial Officer
Egypt has traditionally been an attractive market for US firms thanks to its unique mix of demographics and commercial links to the broader world, strategic location and a demonstrated ability to innovate and compete in global markets. Egypt’s population of over 80 million makes it the largest Arab country, and its location at the gateway of trade and commerce for Southern Europe as well as Africa and the Middle East position it as a prime location for the transit of goods as well as a key destination for American companies seeking to do business in Egypt and the region.
Egypt remains the fourth largest export market for U.S. products and services in the Middle East. Globally, Egypt is the 33rd largest export market for the U.S. The U.S. continues to be Egypt’s largest trading partner and second largest investor. Roughly two-thirds of total U.S. investment is in the oil and gas sector, but also includes investment in areas such as consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, automobile production, and financial services. Egypt is a significant importer of American agricultural commodities, machinery, and equipment.
Represented by: Ann Bacher, Regional Commercial Counselor
Jordan is strategically positioned at the crossroads of the MENA region, close to Europe Asia, and Africa. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is only one of two Arab countries to have signed a peace agreement with Israel and is the only Arab country to sign a Free Trade Agreement with the United States, penned in 2001. The U.S.-Jordan Free Trade Agreement, which came into full effect in 2010, continues to create advantages for U.S. exporters for high-quality products at more attractive prices, as tariff barriers on the majority of goods traded between the United States and Jordan were eliminated. Because of the FTA there has been a surge in bi-lateral trade increasing 600 percent over the past ten years. Jordan remains a tourist destination in the Middle East with a moderate climate and historical sites such as the Dead Sea, Petra, and Wadi Rum.
Regionally, Jordan remains a haven of stability for business interests and in the second year of an Arab Spring has shown resiliency as an even more attractive place for investment and as a business hub in the region. Jordan has strong, cooperative relations with its neighbors and the wider international business community. Imports into Jordan include: mineral fuels and crude oil, industrial machinery, transportation equipment, food and agricultural products, textiles, manufactured goods such as rubber products, paper and cardboard, yarns, chemicals, clothing and footwear.
Kuwait imports most of its capital equipment, processed foods, manufacturing equipment, and consumer goods. Two-way trade is limited to a few international partners. A high percentage of imports originate from the U.S., Germany and Japan, while over 40% of Kuwait’s export earnings is attributable to Japan, South Korea, India, and the U.S. The U.S. remains a leading and strategic partner of Kuwait.
Kuwait’s imports from the U.S. have been stable over the last 2 years. In 2011, U.S. exports to Kuwait were valued at $2.73 billion, a slight decrease compared to 2010 at $2.77 billion. As Kuwaitis frequently travel to and have studied in the United States, Americans and their products receive one of the warmest welcomes in the Middle East in this small economic powerhouse. Although Kuwaitis are extremely price-conscious, they are also avid consumers.
Represented by: Dao Le, Senior Commercial Officer
Mexico is the United States’ second largest export market resulting in over USD 850 million of trade taking place each day. U.S.-manufactured products enjoy duty free import benefits under the North American Free Trade Agreement giving U.S. businesses a quality versus cost advantage over other foreign manufacturers. The growth of the Mexican economy, U.S.-Mexico trade, geographic proximity and the similarity in business cultures gives U.S. manufacturers and U.S.-based service providers ample opportunity to grow their market share in Mexico.
Represented by: Steve Alley, Deputy Senior Commercial Officer
Prospects for U.S. business in Nigeria are especially promising in the following sectors: oil and gas equipment, healthcare services and medical equipment, electrical power generating equipment, computer hardware/software, telecommunications equipment, automobile parts and accessories, construction, and earth moving equipment, agricultural products and equipment, and franchising.
U.S. companies should be assured that many genuine business opportunities exist in Nigeria, even if the business climate seems difficult and certain extra screening steps must be taken with potential business partners. In March 2007, Fitch Ratings affirmed the BB minus rating it had earlier given Nigeria in February 2006. It acknowledged the stability of the Nigerian currency (the Naira), the government of Nigeria’s commitment to economic and social reforms, and improvement in external reserves and public governance.
Represented by: Rebecca Armand, Senior Commercial Officer
Panama has historically served as the crossroads of trade for the Americas. Its strategic location as a bridge between two oceans and the meeting of two continents has made Panama not only a maritime and air transport hub, but also an international trading, banking, and services center. Panama’s global and regional prominence is being enhanced by recent trade liberalization and privatization, and it is participating actively in the hemispheric movement toward free trade agreements. Panama's dollar-based economy offers low inflation in comparison with neighboring countries and zero foreign exchange risk. Its government is stable and democratic and actively seeks foreign investment in all sectors, especially services, tourism and retirement properties.
The U.S. is Panama's most important trading partner, with about 30% of the import market, and U.S. products enjoy a high degree of acceptance in Panama. In 2011, U.S. exports to Panama jumped 34% to $8.25 billion – in no small part due to the fact that Panama’s economy grew 10.5%. However, international competition for sales is strong across sectors including telecommunications equipment, automobiles, heavy construction equipment, consumer electronics, computers, apparel, gifts, and novelty products.
Represented by: Dan Crocker, Regional Director
Poland is the largest market among the former Eastern European countries and has enjoyed 20 years of stability and growth since its transition from communism to democracy. As a member of the European Union, Poland offers direct access to EU markets while also providing a gateway into Eastern European markets. Poland also had the highest GDP growth in the EU from 2008 to 2011.
In 2011 the U.S. sold $3.1 billion worth of merchandise in Poland. The energy sector in Poland currently provides a lot of opportunities for U.S. sales growth. Poland plans to complete its first nuclear power plant by 2020 and this will create sales opportunities for the engineering services, reactor technology, legal/regulatory services, and training services sectors. U.S. energy companies are also at the forefront of Poland’s shale gas exploration activities. Challenges to market entry into Poland include an inefficient court system, rigid labor code, burdensome tax system, and outdated transportation infrastructure. However, Poland has been working to reduce these obstacles and has made some progress in the last few years.
Represented by: William Czajkowski, Senior Commercial Officer
The South African economy is characterized by standards similar to those found in developed countries. Its service sector is well established and growing, and the economy is increasingly well managed with slow but steady industrial productivity gains. It has a well-developed physical infrastructure that is comparable to OECD standards. South Africa boasts a sophisticated financial sector with well-developed financial institutions and a stock exchange in Johannesburg (JSE) that ranks among the top exchanges in the world.
South Africa is a vast country covering 1.22 million square kilometers and it is the world’s largest producer of platinum, vanadium, chromium and manganese. Recently, South Africa has seen rapid increases in both inbound and outbound Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
The United States was the third largest source of South African imports in 2007at 9.4 percent, after Germany (17.1 percent) and China (10.2 percent) and ahead of Japan (8.5 percent) Saudi Arabia (6.6 percent), United Kingdom (6.6 percent), and France (5.2 percent). U.S. exports rose 23 percent in 2007, and by 18 percent in 2008. (Source: U.S.Census Bureau).
Represented by: Larry Farris, Senior Commercial Officer
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) represents a major market for U.S. exports and serves as an important regional hub for American companies conducting business throughout the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. Owing to rapid expansion of bilateral trade in recent years, the UAE has overtaken Saudi Arabia as the largest market for American products in the Middle East. In 2011, U.S. exports to the UAE totaled $15.9 billion, an increase of 36% over the previous year’s levels. UAE sales to the United States increased by 113% last year, reaching $2.4 billion. For the first quarter of 2012, American exports to the USA have increased by an additional 75%.
Leading export sectors for American firms include commercial aircraft, power generating equipment, defense equipment, transportation and infrastructure related goods and services. Demand for imported goods is currently being fueled by a number of factors, including a rapidly expanding UAE civil aviation sector; implementation of major infrastructure and transportation projects; as well as oil and gas industry modernization and expansion.
Represented by: Robert Bannerman, Senior Commercial Officer
The United Kingdom is the fifth largest global market for U.S. exports and the largest market for U.S. exports in Europe. U.S. exports of goods and services to the U.K. are valued at more than $100 billion annually and the U.K. is a great entry market for the EU. Leading export sectors for U.S. firms to the U.K. include aerospace, automotive, electronics, healthcare, information technologies, telecommunications, renewable energy technologies, and safety/security equipment.
Limits of availability of credit in the U.K. can present difficulties for American companies. Also, the economy of the United Kingdom has weakened in the last several years, which resulted in decreased retail sales. U.S. exporters will need to offer competitive prices and terms to succeed in this market.
Represented by: John Breidenstine
Vietnam is a true emerging market, offering ground floor and growing opportunities for U.S. exporters and investors. Vietnam’s economic growth rate has been among the highest in the world in recent years, expanding at an average about 7.2 percent per year during the period 2001-2010, while industrial production grew at an average of about 12 percent per year during the same period.
Despite the continuing global economic recession in 2010, U.S. exports to Vietnam grew by an impressive 19.8 percent to $3.7 billion. During the same period, Vietnam’s exports to the U.S. increased 21.0 percent to $14.9 billion resulting in an $11.2 billion bilateral trade deficit with Vietnam.
Represented by: Sarah Kemp, Senior Commercial Officer